"Here are men [and women] going afar to marvel at the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the long courses of great rivers, the vastness of the ocean, the movements of the stars, yet leaving themselves unnoticed ." (St. Augustine, Confessions, 10, 8, 15.)
Consider following the steps listed below.
- Augustine needed friends for his journey. His contemplative experiences often took place with others: i.e. his friend Alipius witnessed his conversion in the garden; his mother, Monica shared a contemplative moment in Ostia. Invite Mother Theresa to be your friend and walk with you on this inner journey. She understands your joys and sorrows.
- In this contemplative spirit recall three scripture texts which trigger your salvation history. Remember what was happening in your life at that time. Do you recall the historical and social setting in which you lived?
- If these memories bring to mind a specific time of loss, you may find Mother Theresa's experience resonating with your own. Reflect on S. Maura Eichner's poem "Loss," which may remind you of similar feelings.
- Make Morning and Evening prayer an opportunity to pray with a community. Daily Eucharist with a parish community would be especially fruitful. Try to arrive early and pray for all those gathering together. Make a conscious choice to "be church" in your participation.
- Since Augustine's spirituality was fostered by friendship, plan at least one meal with a friend (friends) during your retreat. In harmony with Mother Earth prepare the meal with fresh food available in your area.
- Augustine would not insist on special forms of penance and probably not encourage a midnight meditation. However, we know that her midnight meditation strengthened Mother Theresa, rooting her in the Trinity. Consider spending a silent midnight prayer with her.
- Learn to "abide" in Christ, finding your rest in his love.
- We know that initially Augustine had great difficulty reading the Word of God. But as his seeking heart deepened he was drawn to scripture as the Word directed to him personally. Like Anthony of the Desert, he prayed for a text and opened at random. His life was changed in an instant. Make this a conscious part of your retreat and receive the Word with courage.
- Mother Theresa also shared Augustine's deep faith in the Word of God. Her spiritual directors were Bishop Wittmann and Fr. Job. Bishop Wittmann translated scripture into German. His translation was widely read throughout the German speaking world. (1809 - 1833) He saw it as a source of inexhaustible spiritual life, encouraging seminarians and parishioners to read sacred scripture in what we now know as the spirit of Vatican II. Refer to his writings on the Word of God.
- To verify this love for scripture in Mother Theresa, look at a sample of her letters with scripture references. Reflect on Mother Theresa's letter writing through S. Maura Eichner's poem "Mother Theresa the Letter Writer."
In addition, there are two other sources available for your reflection: