Be Still, by Stephanie Gray

I got my first e-mail address in 1998.  And I have been “connected” since then.  But on October 6 that changed: For 40 days I disconnected entirely from e-mail, Facebook, texting, and phone, and went on a six-week retreat.  In the coming months I’ll be reflecting on my 40 days in the wilderness (literally—I was in a small town in the woods of Ontario), but initially I want to share this insight:


My time was spent with the beautiful apostolate Madonna House, situated on the Madawaska River in Combermere.  The river often moved making little ripples, but on a number of occasions, often later in the day, I noticed it would be entirely still so that the trees and sky were perfectly reflected on its glassy surface.  One day I decided to capture this profound stillness and the photo above shows how perfectly tranquil the water was.  That reminded me of a quote by one of my favorite authors, Father Jacques Philippe who wrote the following in his book Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart:


“Consider the surface of a lake, above which the sun is shining.  If the surface of the lake is peaceful and tranquil, the sun will be reflected in this lake; and the more peaceful the lake, the more perfectly it will be reflected.  If, on the contrary, the surface of the lake is agitated, undulating, then the image of the sun can not be reflected in it. 


“It is a little bit like this with regard to our soul in relationship with God.  The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the more His grace acts through us.”


There are many things my 40 days away taught me, but most certainly one was the power of peace, and the necessity that we be still.