The following meditation on the male journey – and lessons of nature – arrived in my inbox this morning from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM. I find it inspiring and wildly appropriate to extend to all of our blog readers — both men and women alike. As the Visitation Sisters head into their ten day retreats this week — seeking wilderness in their respective natural cathedral settings — we all might find our own ways to follow suit. On behalf of our beloved nuns, Fr. Rohr, and all in the Visitation Monastery community, I invite you to get yourself to the wild — to enter and examine the wilderness of your own soul.
THE MALE JOURNEY:
What Wilderness Knows
Even up to the settling of the Wild West, nearly all mythic stories took place in the wilderness or “wildness.” For both men and women through the ages, it was in the wilderness that they discovered the soul. The civilized or domesticated world was of our making; wilderness was God’s making—the first and natural cathedral.
But now we have created a society that idealizes civilization and runs away from wilderness. Many people are actually afraid of nature. Not only have we succeeded in taming the wilderness; we have ended up taming the soul.
Yet nature continues to speak to something deep within each of us. Have you ever been transfixed while looking into the eyes of an animal? When an animal looks into our eyes, the sensation is almost numinous. The world beyond the human is somehow communicating something essential to us. Carl Jung said, “When religion stops talking about animals it will be all downhill.” Being in wilderness brings us back to our senses, back to our deep selves.
How can I make time, soon, to be with animals, to be in the wilderness?
FROM FR. RICHARD’S NEW BOOK:
On The Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men