Life is very quiet around here this week. We are on retreat, a time of silence and reflection, prayer and rest. A time when we can watch Sister Helen’s velvety pink petunias bob in the warm breeze … listen to the chickadees chatter as they flit from branch to branch … smell a tangle of scents rising off the lake and passing through the brush to the path … a time to sit and do precisely nothing.
But nothing means something profound during retreat. It means opening ourselves to God and God’s work within us. Also, we have help from a wonderful retreat director.
Abbot John Klassen, OSB, from St. John’s Abbey, is here for the week as well. His conferences – presented every morning and afternoon – derive from the parables. Today’s was on Matthew 25: 14-30; about the master and the tenants. You remember: The master gave each of 3 slaves money to invest in his absence. When he returned, he was glad to receive additional funds from the first 2 slaves, who had invested wisely. The 3rd slave had buried his money in the ground and had no additional funds to give. For this, he was chastised and thrown into darkness. The master says, For everyone who has, more shall be given. For those who have not, even that shall be taken away.
Abbot John says he was troubled by that parable until he thought, maybe the lesson is opposite of what we’ve always assumed. Maybe the master is just a greedy man for whom the last slave refused to exploit anyone for the sake of making more money for an already-wealthy man. Perhaps it is profoundly consistent with Jesus’ message.
Abbot John continued, Back in those days, banks made a great deal of money from repossessing land from those who couldn’t repay loans. Peasants were thrown into utter ruin. Perhaps, Abbot John suggests, the parable simply means Thou Shall Not Steal.
And now, back to nothing. 🙂