The roses on the garden wall are in full bloom, as I walk behind the convent in the large and sunny garden during our annual retreat, when one has both time and silence to reflect, punctuated by lectures of a Father from Chevetogne. Chevetogne is an ecumenical monastery of monks in Walloonia, the French part of Belgium where Orthodox and Roman Catholic brothers work together to live in harmony. Chevetogne is worth a look on the Internet; they have a guesthouse for women as well as men. It is a fascinating place on many levels, a beautiful old chateau surrounded by rolling pasturelands and with a Latin church on one side and a Byzantine church on the other. Chevetogne is tucked into a quiet rill with pastures all around inhabited by cows who move from one pasture to the other on what seems like cue in the early morning and late afternoon. I do not pretend to understand but then I am not a cow! I did enjoy watching the journey twice each day though from my guesthouse window. Back to the roses on the garden wall. The fragrance does not come through the blog but the scent is heavenly to match the beauty of the blooms.
New life, as the roses on the garden wall, and the love of God and his incredible patience with his creatures is the topic of the retreat. I am abundantly blessed and uplifted…..Yes it is a paradox the love of God and the fear of God. God is giving me what I need from what I understand as the conference is in Dutch!! My church Dutch and religious wordlist is pretty good, but a multitude of words I do not know. I fumble in my dictionary to find them, only of course to discover the thought of the lecture has moved way beyond where the word was. God is good though and I am blessed as the roses on the wall.