Thirty Days Living in the Land of Desire
Pedro P. García
Monastic Guest Program Participant (Sept 28 – Oct 28, 2018)
When I revisit my reasons for applying to be considered for the Monastic Guest Program, I am filled with gratitude for God’s invitation to disconnect and discover. The community of Mepkin opened their home, and more importantly their hearts, each in their unique way. The witness of their fidelity to a life rooted in prayer and centered in the mystery of God’s presence was transformative for me.
Unbeknownst to me, stepping away from the busyness and information overload of daily life required a period of time to unwind as a precursor to embracing all the experience would have to offer. I clearly remember the morning of day 5. As I was walked out of the retreat house chapel, something felt different. After a few steps, I stopped and uttered: “Now I can hear the birds…now I can feel the sun…now I see the trees…now I am here!”
The silence, beauty of nature, rhythm of prayer, and retreat experiences opened the ears of my heart to listen and stay present to God’s love and mercy. Letting go and being open, allowed me to fully enjoy the excitement of the unexpected. Whether it was being part of the team on fruitcake duty in the kitchen, washing dishes, trying new foods, singing psalms, participating in retreats, or sharing my professional experience, I was ‘all in’ and that allowed me to receive countless blessings.
In my application statement for the program, I wrote:
“When I think of an immersion in the monastic life at Mepkin, it will be a transformative experience for me; an experience to where all is directed towards God; an experience of God totally unfiltered and raw; an experience filled with gratitude, blessing, prayer, peace, balance, challenge, surprise, renewal, and some fun; and an experience of meeting wonderful people whose love of God will be good for my soul. I know the fruits of such experiences are graces to be shared with family, friends, and future co-workers. They will give me the courage to be more authentic in my relationship with myself and commitment to God.”
As I look back, Living in the Land of Desire was transformative beyond all measures. My heart is filled with gratitude to God and the Mepkin community for the gift of having been a monastic guest.