In his dark and dreary room, Paolo Daneo writes on December 1, 1720 : “ Both during prayer and at Communion I was dry and distracted, with a little of that depression which I mentioned before.”
Orlando’s entry: Paolo spends his 9th day in dryness, distraction and depression, with little inspiration to write much. I can see why Fr. Victor warned that this retreat would be a “desert experience.” The rainy, dreary days of November and December 2020 with the threat of the COVID and worries about the demise of our trust in our system of democracy, with the anxiety and the physical problems that my wife and I are undergoing, it is going to be a challenging time. I am reminded of the first reading for the 1st Sunday of Advent from the Book of Isaiah : “ Behold, You [Our God] are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon Your name, who rouses himself to cling to You; for You have hidden Your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, oh Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and You the Potter: we are all the work of Your hands.” Berta and I persist in our efforts. We sit together, share our readings and our feelings, questions, and God-inspirations. Today we wondered about the mystery of human suffering. We wondered why God did not save us in a different way, rather than the horrid ritual of the Passion. We looked into each others’ eyes, affirmed our trust in our God, who has given us so much joy, and we realized how much closer this activity has brought us together, the THREE of us.
Berta’s entry: Dear Jesus, I am as distracted today as St. Paul of the Cross was, that day in 1720. I come in and out of concentrating on God during prayer. Memories, noises, distractions, all are keeping me from You, my Lord. Let’s see what a visit to church, and Communion will do. Are my difficulties related to the bit of confusion and mental fogginess I feel because of my eye problems? I turn all of these to You! I dedicate my discomfort to You, my Lord Jesus. I know You are there at my side. Please, Holy Spirit guide me through the day; open my eyes to truly see! Help me through the day, my Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I trust in You!