Surprised by Obedience

In May of 1991 I made the first extended retreat of my life at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. (At the time we lived in Montgomery, Alabama, so the monastery at Conyers was the closest monastic house to us.) I was very naive and had great ambitions for the five days, one of which was a three day fast. I was in the habit of fasting at the time, but never more than 36 hours at a time. When I met with the Retreat Master, Dom Augustine (or Father Gus, as he was more commonly called), I told him, with some smugness, that I was planning the long fast.  He winced and said, “Don’t do that; just loaf with the Lord.” I inwardly rolled my eyes and thought, “What does he know? The path to holiness does not lie in “loafing with the Lord.” Continue Reading

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