Thursday, March 11, 2010


Today is Monday--we left the noises, conveniences and comforts of comfortable “civilized” places to go into the Sinai wilderness—with no hair dryers, cell phones or restaurants. Two days in the desert (which I am still reflecting upon and writing about). Today we left the desert at St. Catherine's Monastery. I marvel over the whole experience in this wilderness but right now I marvel most at the miracle that is St. Catherine's. Since the fourth century it has rested in the valley below Mt. Sinai. Standing in silent testimony that there is something far greater than we. It served as a safety and refuge from persecution. It cradled the beginnings of monasticism, Christian thought and teachings. It withstood centuries of invading armies taking and destroying most everything else in their paths—the Bedouin, the Arabs, the English, French, the Germans—they all came here yet did not touch or tear down this place. Muhammed placed his hand on the agreement assuring its safety in 638, Napoleon rebuilt its aged and crumbling north walls and maintained support of its protection while in Egypt and years beyond.

This morning the cooing of the doves awakened me. I went out and sat on a nearby terrace to be with them as they called to each other throughout the monastery grounds. The sun was just rising and it began touching the rugged, jagged peaks of the mountains surrounding this place.

I went to them—the doves and their calling—and sat—for a very long time it seemed. I sat watching the sun rise and listening to the doves calling—I listened for the way continuing my journey—on learning more how to maintain and grow an openness of spirit.

In this place called St. Catherine's I felt such an assurance there there is openness of spirit—here the places of worship for Christians and Muslim stand side by side. The cross and minaret both reaching together upward. The calls to prayer and the bells join together—somewhere—somehow we have lost how to do that in this world

For now, I am thankful for openness of spirit and knowing that we too are part of this miracle of the mystery that is St. Catherine's

Posted by Jan Therien

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