Saturday, February 6, 2010

Monastic Retreat

The Bad Catholic spent Monday afternoon through Thursday morning of last week on retreat at the Trappist Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. Every time I go and visit the monastery, I wish that I could just join up and leave the world behind. Talking with the monks, however, one finds out that you can't really ever leave the world and its concerns behind. If anything, I think that the monks are more attuned to the real problems of this old wicked world, while most of us are too involved with the "rat race" to take a broad view.

The retreat conferences were on the writings of Walker Percy. The retreat was led by former Georgia State University literature professor Dr. Victor Kramer. Dr. Kramer is also one of the former editors of The Merton Annual. In addition to Dr. Kramer's talks about the idea of sacrament in Percy's work, we heard from Father James Behrens and Brother Elias, both of whom knew Percy in Covington, Louisiana. Dr. Kramer had also had the opportunity of meeting and corresponding with Percy. These personal anecdotes were very enjoyable and enlightening.

The retreat was well attended by a very diverse group. Among the retreatants were a Bendictine nun, an Episcopal priest from California, a banker, a hospital administrator, a Presbyterian lawyer and his wife, and yours truly. Regretfully, on Friday I resumed a regular workday and realized that a real grasp on reality is rooted in a deep prayer life like that of the monks and that most of us really are
"Lost in the Cosmos."

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