This is the time of year we celebrate graduations, the completion of a course of study, and the beginning of a new stage of life, whether it be further education or training, entering the workforce, or simply enjoying the fruits of one’s labor.
We look back, and we look ahead. We take lessons from the past, as we plan our future. Such taking stock is also a spiritual practice many people engage in, particularly by means of a spiritual retreat of several days to a week or even longer.
When we begin such a retreat, we reflect on how God has been present in our life over the past year, what our current life experience is like, and the direction we feel God is moving us in, as we contemplate our future. We do this in an atmosphere of silence and prayer, usually in a place of beauty, and with the help of a trained spiritual guide.
Photography has been a practice that has helped me enter into a reflective state of mind, focusing more on the present than on anything else. And in the end, this is what is important in advancing in spiritual maturity–the ability to be absorbed in the present moment in an awareness of our connection with the God who loves us and of our call to share that love with others. Our spiritual life, indeed our human life, is how we live out that connection and that call.
“With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones…” (Ephesians 6:18)
2 thoughts on “Commencement”
These are beautiful photos Fr. Perry. Where did you take them? I would like to visit these places you brought to life.
The first few images are from the Jesuit retreat at Eastern Point in Gloucester. There are a couple from the Jesuit retreat house in Sedalia, CO, and the one with the Mary statue is from the SSJ retreat house in Cape May Point, NJ. All three are wonderful places to make retreat. My favorite is Gloucester.