In early September, 2022, I was fortunate to be able to make my annual retreat in Lebanon with the friars of the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land.

One of my passages for personal mediation came from David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine Monk, who says in his book “The Way of Silence: Engaging the Sacred in Daily Life”,

“While proofreading a manuscript, I better keep my mind on the text, not on God. If my mind is torn between the two, the typos will slip through like little fish through a torn net. God will be present precisely in the loving attention I give to the work entrusted to me. By giving myself fully and lovingly to that work, I give myself fully to God. This happens not only in work but also in play, say, in bird-watching or in watching a good movie. God must be enjoying it in me, when I am enjoying it in God. Is not this communion the essence of praying?”

These words helped me to appreciate more fully the organization of the retreat by Friar Felician TAMAȘ, the reflections offered by Friar Virgil BLAJ, the time I spent getting to know the friars at table, Eucharistic adoration, my walks in an unfamiliar landscape, and communal evenings of frisbee through the kindness of Friar Andrew J. HOCHSTEDLER.
Before the retreat, in a meeting about JPIC with the Custodial Definitory, I was challenged to reflect more deeply on the meaning of JPIC as the DNA of Franciscans. Each of the friars in the Custody inspired my written reflections, fruit born in me during our time of spiritual exercises. In the weeks ahead I will give myself to improving and proofreading my text, careful to not let the typos slip through the net, and in Advent I will share this work with the friars of the Order.

Friar Michael LASKY, General Delegate for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation