I was raised Protestant, in the United Church of Christ, but in high school I met a teacher who lent me a biography of St. Teresa of Avila. It was love at first sight, and I knew what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” But it wasn’t that easy! Not only was I not Catholic, but I wasn’t at all sure I believed in God. It was several years later before I realized that it wasn’t a question of belief in an intellectual sense, but a relationship of trust and love to the God I so desperately needed.
It has been a long, meandering journey since then: into the Catholic Church, into contemplative life, into the hermit life and the Rule of St. Benedict, and finally here with Sr. Bernadette to begin Transfiguration Hermitage, where we live a contemplative life of prayer that contains elements of solitude as well as community. It has been a journey of growth; and growth is wonderful but it is sometimes difficult and always challenging. Along the way I have been blessed with friends I’d never dreamed of meeting, places I’d never dreamed of going, and found resources in myself and others that I never knew existed.
As with Abraham, God leads us beyond ourselves in a desert journey to a place “which he will show us.” There is no road map except our faith and our trust in the Spirit’s action in our lives. To walk in this journey is to learn that our strength comes from God, and not from ourselves. Yet to follow this journey is also to find our deepest self in God and along the way to be blessed with people, places, and experiences, and to be enriched beyond all that we could ever have dreamed.