Sunday, June 8, 2014

108 degrees, Spiders, Snakes, Saguaro Cacti and Retreat



Summertime is the time we take a week and make a silent retreat some place. I chose this year to go to the Desert House of Prayer on Pictures Rocks Road in Tucson, right outside the Saguaro National Park.
Here is the winding road leading up to this secluded retreat house. You can tell it is on the edge of the Saguaro National Park.

 The house is run by the Redemptorists. All the meals are in silence-for staff and retreatants- except for the evening meal unless you choose not to talk.
I stayed in one of their six hermitages on the property.


The path to my hermitage.
I would sit outside till 10am till the 108 degrees came and then back out at sunset around 7pm.

The Chapel-where we met for Mass, morning and evening prayer. We had a contemplative Mass one day. All was done in silence except for the Eucharistic Prayer and the 1st Reading from scripture and the Gospel.  A little bell was rung to tell us when to focus on the next part of the Mass.

Saturday morning there was no Mass so I walked over to the other retreat center run by the Redemptorists-Picture Rocks-for early morning Mass. I had been here two years previously for retreat and we often come in for principal meetings. It is beautiful and like the retreat director here said, "We aren't as austere as our neighbors." I agreed!
I took time to pray the Stations. I loved the desert colors of each.
Jesus meets His Mother, Mary.

Jesus is nailed to the cross.

Jesus is laid in the tomb. I have never seen a picture of Jesus actually being laid in the tomb.

 I prayed by the Angel for the Ascension soon to be Pentecost!




After Mass I went to the beautiful bookstore at the retreat center here. I bought a book on Thomas Merton but I was short money. They would  hold the book for me as I jogged back to the hermitage to get more money. As I quickly came out of the hermitage I thought I better take the car back since they were waiting for my return. As I was thinking this out I was not watching where I was stepping and low and behold my foot was ready to come down on this rattler when I quickly jumped over it. It was happy I missed it too and it slithered into the rocks. Now this was right outside my hermitage. They said to keep the door always closed to keep the spiders out but I should have known about the snakes with all the snake holes I see.


There is a beauty in the desert that some see and others do not.  



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