Saturday, June 23, 2012

Pathless Path

Do you ever feel sometimes that you aren't sure where you are going, or perhaps what path is Life leading you down sometimes?  Well, I know I have had that feeling in my life.
I spent a week at .....
and I came upon this Sign

as I walked the beautiful grounds of this retreat center run by the Redemptorists. It is located in Tucson, in the Sonoran Desert, bordering the Saguaro National Park. It doesn't take long to realize this close proximity.

The "pathless path", as I pondered that during my retreat along with "The Desert will lead you to your heart where I will speak."  that is found on the stone wall in their beautiful, peaceful church, gave me much spiritual insight.

Spending a week in the desert with triple digit temps of 107 most days - one has got to love the desert. My companions for the week were: lizards, spiders outside and inside, ground squirrels,  plenty of birds singing away, especially the woodpeckers early in the morning tapping and drilling away at their breakfast. One friend who came early morning and stayed all day at the front door of my hermitage was

I was in a hurry one morning to get to my conference and I didn't close the front screen door all the way. When I returned an hour later there this furry creature was. I used the back door all day so as to leave him sleep in peace outside-and not inside my bed. He left at about 6:00pm. Tis the season for him to be looking for a mate. Didn't find one with me!

Other companions in the afternoon when I would cool off in the pool were the birds that came and jumped onto the first rung of the ladder in the pool. They would take a drink or two and then fly away and eventually other birds came. It was interesting to see that they act just like humans when it comes to getting into the pool. Some birds just hop from the concrete onto the ladder and others aren't sure if they want to do it. They come to the edge, go back, come close again and maybe jump onto the rung and maybe uh, uh - too far down and away they flew.

In reading the helpful book about the retreat center that was left in my hermitage, I found out that there were other animals that I could have seen such as: javelina, snakes (if coiled go way around as they are getting ready to strike), two cougars and coyotes. I kept looking for the javelinas, who are nocturnal, but I saw none. I think I did hear them one night as there was something moving around outside my hermitage one night.

I also learned the names of the different cacti. Now, can you name them?




Answers: 1) Saguaro-one with the arms - they are 60 years old before they start growing an arm. Some by the retreat center are 200 years old.  2) cholla-the one that has the hardest needles to get out if you get stuck with one; 3) barrel -quite obvious name; and 4) prickly pear.

As with people, cacti have personalities too. I happen to find some unique ones.

 Multiple personality-so many arms and not sure which way they were to go.
 Mr. Independent-the one hiding behind the desert bushes. If you look closely, one arm is growing down instead of up and the flowers on top are just shooting straight up and very tall - not normal.
 Ms. Fashion Conscious-rich color and lots of dazzling blossoms on top.
 Strong and Stout!


I also saw the blossums and fruit of the cacti and the needles up close.

The land that was chosen for the retreat center is holy and sacred ground. The Hohokam people 1500 years ago chose this area as their sacred grounds. They carved sacred images on the rocks, called petroglyphs. These petroglyphs are still seen today and as one walks in this area and sees these beautiful picture rocks you can feel the sacred presence. This is truly "holy ground".

One can also take another holy walk on the labyrinth.

It is not a maze. There is one way in and one way out. You just keep following the path, prayerfully, as you reflect where has God led you and where is he leading you now and next.
It is amazing to see what different people leave behind on the very center rock.

My favorite part of the day was catching the sunrise at 5:00 a.m. Seeing that my hermitage faced the East the sun woke me up each morning.  Here is God's beauty that was my alarm clock each morn.

Each morning at the daily Mass at the Church of Our Lady of the Desert we had the novena prayer to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The beautiful picture of her came from Europe many years ago.

In the evenin,g as I walked the pathless path to watch the sunset, it was harder to see it because of the mountains surrounding the retreat center in the West. I did capture a little of it though.

The Redemptorist Retreat Center is also known as Pictured Rocks Retreat Center and as one walks the grounds and sees the pictures in the rocks there is no other perfect name for it except perhaps - Sacred Grounds. One can feel the presence of God here as one seeks out the many paths in one's life and comes from the pathless one to The Path God has chosen for each of us.

Our Lady of the Desert - Pray for Us!

1 comment:

  1. wonderful reflection, a real sense of place and serenity. Thank you sister!