Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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Monastery Retreat, Post One

Last week, I was on retreat at the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in northern New Mexico. While there, guests can not contact the outside world through any normal means. Therefore, one does not blog from the Monastery. However, I did take along my handy AlphaSmart NEO and did write several posts. I will be uploading these posts over the next several days in order to let you in on my retreat.

Post One

I awoke before my alarm. 5:40 am, Monday, May 3rd. I prayed. God has given me this time, and I gave it back to him. I prayed that he would forgive me my many sins, that he would purify me and strengthen me. I prayed that I would return safely.

Sometimes I take this journey with a companion. The last two years I have been to the Monastery with a friend. This year, Christ is my companion alone. I felt that this should be the way of things. My prayer usually is that he would be my companion. This morning, I prayed that I would be his companion. That he would lead and I would follow.

I gave to him all my expectations, all my anticipations. I elect to know nothing but Christ crucified.

I prayed that he might open my mouth, my eyes, my ears, my heart. That he might say to me "ephatha!" I prayed sincerely the old words, that on this journey I would see him more clearly, follow him more nearly, and love him more dearly.

I kissed L-- and E-- goodbye, deciding not to awaken S--. I love them so.

Now I am in the airplane on the way to Dallas. I have been listening to inspiring music on my iPod. I am grateful for it, and for the water and orange juice that the attendant brought. I am grateful that I am on the aisle and the seat next to me is open.

I go with gratitude.