Monday, 27 February 2017

Beatitudes of simplicity, solitude and silence.



Though I lead retreats regularly, I rarely get to attend one as a retreatant. Every year the Badger pays for me to go with him to his church parish weekend, and that’s usually the sum total. But last year I went to a retreat at Penhurst, exploring prayer and writing.

This morning, sorting through my belongings on the usual hunt for things to chuck out, I came upon two journals – one a bullet journal I started, the other meant to be a kind of thinking journal or something. Anyway, journals aren’t really me, I’m no Thomas Merton; and, though I gave bullet journaling a good go, I still prefer keeping my diary in my computer. It has the added advantage that when people ask me to do things I have to say, “I don’t know. Can I tell you later?”

But I’ll keep the journals until they’re full, using them to make notes on things. I like reporters notebooks best, but the journals will do until they’re used up.

Anyway, at this retreat I went to, I took one of these journals along, and we had to do a couple of writing exercises – which I wrote down in the journal I came across today.

The first one was that we had to write our own version of the Beatitudes. Obviously upstaging Jesus is a dubious endeavor, but at least it makes him laugh. Here was mine.

BEATITUDES OF SIMPLICITY, SILENCE & SOLITUDE

SIMPLICITY
1
How blessed are they who live simply,
For status, power and wealth are burdensome,
Clutter is time-consuming, and in complication is infinite weariness.

2
How blessed are the frugal,
For they can afford to be generous, they are not demanding,
And they sidestep the demon of worry.

3
How blessed are they who can let go,
For they walk free from the encumbering of possessions,
Their daily routines are peaceful, and they give other people space.

SILENCE
1
How blessed are they who speak softly,
Not an annoying mumble I mean, but without stridency or aggression –
For they can be heard better than those who harshly insist.

2
How blessed are they who move quietly,
Mindful of how they walk, handle objects, close doors and blow their noses –
For they are very nice to live with.

3
How blessed are they who spend long hours in silence,
For silence fosters the living Word,
In silence the Word matures – silence offers space to think again.

SOLITUDE
1
How blessed are they who are content in their own company,
For they are restful to those they encounter.

2
How blessed are they who accept the essential solitude of every human being,
For they make peace with the grief of exile,
The existential loneliness of the human condition.

3
How blessed are they who do not seek attention,
Who pass through life as unobtrusively as moving light.







8 comments:

Suze said...

I love your words.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx

gretchen said...

i am printing your 'beatitudes' out and putting them up on the refrigerator as my lenten meditation ~ making a copy for a friend as well. your words will keep me company throughout lent. thanks, pen!

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh! How blessed am I! Thank you. x

Bill Treadway said...

I'm sharing this with my spouse and teenage daughters. There's a good deal of wisdom here.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

Glad it resonates for you, Bill!

Sis said...

I felt peaceful reading them. Will be sharing with my high school classes. Thanks !

Pen Wilcock said...

:0)

Thank you x