Sunday, July 31,2011
Mother Abbess was looking forward to her annual private retreat, 2 days of relative solitude and freedom from her usual abbatial duties. The retreat literally began with a bang in the very early hours of the first day when a clap of thunder nearly jolted her out of bed. She sat up in stunned silence until a knock on the door brought her to full consciousness “Mother, we have no water”. Nocturnal investigations at the water pump in the pouring rain revealed that it had been hit by lightning. The rest of the night was given to drawing water out of the pipes to bring it to strategic locations for the morning’s work, and the next day to arranging for the electrician to fix the pump and surveying the damage to the enclosure wall also struck by the electrical violence of the night. Somewhere between hauling buckets and making telephone calls, Mother Abbess cast a glance toward the God of her heart and said, “Very funny, Lord! So much do you care about the quiet of my retreat!” Something similar happened to Jesus in today’s Gospel He had just received news of his cousin’s death and He sought a deserted place to mourn and reflect. Yet, when He disembarked from Peter’s boat, he found, not a deserted place but a crowded arena full of people eager to hear His word. Both Jesus and Mother Abbess had their plans, but the Father had His own agenda for their retreats. Yet both received that refreshment which only comes from obedience to God. As Dante once wrote, “In His will is our peace.” And this peace multiplies in miracles of love that feed the hungry multitudes from its abundance of new life.