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All Is Well

by John K. Stoner (June 21, 2017)

Over thirty years ago I made an eight day silent retreat at the Jesuit Center at Wernersville, Pa.  This was the first time I had done an extended retreat like this.

It was October, and I spoke to no one for those days except my spiritual director, Father Frank Miles, in a once-a-day hour long conversation.  It was October, the weather was beautiful, and I spent most of my time outdoors on the 300 acre grounds.  

One day I found a quiet small field a long walk from the retreat center.  I sat in the grass, by trees in a mixture of sunshine and shade.  The air was clear, calm and quiet.  I felt at peace.  My spirit was relaxed and my thoughts were calm. 

I was quietly sensing my surroundings—the touch of the grass, the feel of the earth under me, the slow drift of white clouds in the sky, and the green of the trees around me.  Then I notices a small whitish yellow butterly flitting through the air.

It’s freedom, delicacy and beauty impressed me.  It flew here and there.  My arms were clasped around my knees as I sat.  And then the butterfly flew to me and landed on my arm.  There I looked at it closely, amazed that it had chosen to make a friend of me. 

It was a moment of ecstasy.  I felt at one with the little butterly and all that was around me.  I felt safe in the womb of the universe.  I felt the pulse of Life that evolved over billions of years to produce all that I saw, and myself.  I sensed that I existed in a good world that moved more by the energy of love than any other energy.  

I was aware of mystery, and goodness, and possibility.  I knew that I could choose love as my way of living.  Today I still find it possible to choose to return to those sensibilities and to act on those possibilities.  

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