Wellspring is our one day retreat and recently we offered another one in St Patrick’s Church, Dalkey. It was a rainy Saturday and as I was looking at the pouring rain through the window I was thinking of the talk I gave that morning about Elijah and the value of silence.
When Elijah was at Mount Horeb he realised God was not in the fire, nor in the earthquake, God was not in the wind, in a way I could have also said that God was not in the pouring rain. God was in the sound of sheer silence. And yet that morning observing the rain, I felt the sense of calm, of stilling the inner senses. That day rain actually helped create the silence in which we encounter God’s presence.
During Wellspring we try to create a space for people to meet with God on a very personal level. Out of this relationship with Jesus, healing comes. We each come with different questions and life stories and we share in the silence together. Some of us come affected with the current happenings in the world, seeking God in the midst of it. Two of us who are facilitators, Carol and myself, we don’t provide answers. We offer input that facilitates a deep exchange with God, and in that encounter people bring their questions, hopes, need for healing. What happens in Wellspring is often deeper than what we can perceive with our eyes, because it happens in the depths of people’s hearts. Sometimes we get a glimpse of it through the feedback that people give us, but I know that certain experiences where God graces us with His presence and healing are not always easy to put into words.
Every time we offer Wellspring, we have new people coming, and yet some people come back time and again. “Come to the well, the well is deep”, we say. That well is the well of God’s healing presence and whenever we come to it, it is always new. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why some people come back. The prayer practices that we teach and the theological input we offer are easily applicable to everyday life. Each of us can take something from the day and apply it to nurture our prayer life, and to seek deeper healing from God. And yet there is something life-giving when we spend a day in silence with other people. God touches us in a specific way, and it is as if tasting some of His goodness. “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). In this world marred with evil, tasting God’s goodness enflames hope and it brings healing to our heart and soul.
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland