Monday, February 27, 2012

Past wanderings

Back in the early 70s, as part of my coming-out-to-myself turmoil, I did a week's retreat at a monastery in upstate New York called New Skete. It was started by a group of young Franciscans in the 60's, who were Catholic, but followed the Slavic Byzantine rite. Over the years they decided to become Orthodox, added on a community of nuns and another of married couples. For some reasons no one will talk about, their founder got kicked out, and they built a larger church...and became famous for raising German shepherds.

I remember standing in the (old) church above, looking at the big icon of Christ and clenching my fists, sort of trying to stare him down. And when I talked in very general terms with the founder-abbot about it, he said, "Well, every man has to have a kind of poetry to make his life worthwhile. That's kinda what faith is."

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