The Northern Ireland branch of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland met yesterday (Saturday 19th February) for a day retreat at Corrymeela’s retreat centre at Knocklayd.
The weather was absolutely glorious with warm spring sunshine abounding. As I stood and looked out over the wonderful County Antrim landscape as it spread out from Knocklayd Mountain, I felt the words of Psalm 19 spring to life:
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.
The retreat brought together people from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions, all of whom were united in their desire to understand more fully the works of Thomas Merton and how these relate to their own faith journey. The day consisted of periods of quiet prayer, meditation and walking in addition to discussion and sharing a meal together.
I’ve included the slides used for the first meditation below; the purpose of this meditation was to focus on the – beauty of all that is around us and to remind us that contemplative prayer flows from being aware of God in all things. The photos contained in this meditation were all taken in NI (with the exception of a couple which I took in New Zealand!).
Oh, and here are a few photos of Knocklayd……….
I will be organising further Merton events in the months ahead, so if you would like to join us, or you have any ideas regarding activities, please do get in touch. The group is open to all!