Retreat on Native American spirituality

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Title:Retreat on Native American spirituality

 Beauty Retreat, Nov. 9, 2019 (full size gallery)

The Way of Beauty Retreat took place at St Peter’s on Saturday, November 9. Carol Maher, the founder of Many Waters Ministries, led the retreat for a group of fifteen people from St Peter’s and from St Mary’s in Colonial Beach. Carol shared the story of how she came to be interested in Native American spirituality. We learned about the concept of hozho, which is the Navajo word that describes “the beauty way.”

The beauty way is a way of life, much like the “Way of Love” that Bishop Curry has developed. The beauty way integrates God into all of life. To find what gives you harmony in your life, the moral condition of good, the things that are harmonious, blessed, good and satisfying are all part of living the way of beauty. The Navajo people find that they live engulfed in beauty. Carol told us about “The Long Walk,” when various tribes from all over the West were forced to walk to Ft Sumner in Arizona. The mindset of The Way of Beauty gave the people the strength to persevere and to survive the ordeal. This group of tribes is now the largest in the United States.

Carol asked us what we want our own lives to radiate. Jesus talks about abiding. What does it mean for us to abide in Jesus and to produce the fruit that lasts? Carol also talked about how The Way of Beauty prayer has the same themes of St Patrick’s Breastplate and the Prayer of St Francis.

After we spent some time in prayer, listening to God, we made collages that reflected what we feel most passionately about in our lives, what means the most to us, what inspires us, where we go for refreshment and peace.

After we shared lunch together, the day ended with a Eucharist in the church and during the service, each person presented her collage and talked about the inspiration behind the art.

The following writings were used for inspiration:

The Beauty Way

I walk with beauty before me
I walk with beauty behind me
I walk with beauty below me
I walk with beauty above me
I walk with beauty around me
My words will be beautiful
In beauty all day long may I walk

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie
Christ when I sit,
Christ when I arise,
Everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is discord, unity
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.