Mountain Road

Today was Trinity Sunday and I really needed to hear Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM homily which included the importance of doubt in our lives. So much time is spent defining what we are and what we believe that almost no one ever gives voice to doubt although you can hear it too if only you listen. Without doubt there would be no faith. In the past nine years since I’ve come to Mt. Irenaeus and become a Secular Franciscan I’ve gone through a series of stages, the latest has been one of intense doubt. I had been thinking of chucking it all because I’m a very non-traditional Catholic and a non-traditional Franciscan too. I am connected to the church more by mysticism than by any other thread.

Today following Mass and Brunch I took a walk along the path called “The Mountain Road,” which winds from near the House of Peace to the highest point on the property and close to my favorite hermitage, La Posada. Posada is the resting place and I’ve spent several nights in its grasp in the past nine years. I’ve also spent other times like this afternoon resting there and listening. Once inside today and seated in a chair by the window, gentle tears came to my eyes and once more I was home. At one time La Posada was a place and it was on top of that low mountain in Allegany County. Today, La Posada is in my heart, it’s a gift that I carry with me, but it’s still neat to come here to this land and to walk intentionally, mindfully slow, listening for my heartbeat, my breath and all the life that surrounds me. The Trinity is about relationship and so are these woods and this path that I am on.

5 Replies to “Mountain Road”

  1. Br. Don,
    Tell us more about your struggle with doubt…
    and the urge to chuck it all…
    and why do you still stick to it?

    After reading Mother Theresa memoirs, we can see what the dark night of the soul is about….

    I, too, feel the gnawing of doubt, at times…. but I attribute it my feelings… and have to realize that
    my trust in God has to be greater than my immediate emotions, which may be related to stomach indigestion….

    In Christ,

  2. I am a stuggling catholic – I am so turned off by the Church and I miss the confort of the ritual and the music. I find some comfort in the fact that others struggle as well. Dawn

  3. I wish you and all struggling Catholics well. Faith of any kind is a struggle. If it weren’t for the struggle it wouldn’t be much of a faith. Anyone who doesn’t struggle, who accepts it all at face value enjoys a very shallow experience.

  4. Don, I wish I had seen this post a little earlier, but it seems like the conversation continues. I, too, am a Secular Franciscan (candidate at this point). People seem to think that I have strong faith, and I suppose by some definitions I do. However, in reality, what I have is strong spirituality, a connection with God. However, I am a natural skeptic, and God had to thunk me on the head to get my attention. Nonetheless, there are, indeed, moments of doubt about various things and happenings. At those times I remember that God loved St. Thomas, so perhaps doubting is not such a bad thing after all!

  5. Glad you liked my thoughts. There have been some changes in my life since I wrote them and I’ve come to realize it is my lack of orthodoxy that repels and attracts based on one’s own connection to the faith and the mystical body of Christ. Until I cam to Mount Irenaeus nine years ago I wandered from church to church looking for what I now know is a community of mystics. My faith and my devotion to Christ are at a different level than the Baltimore catechism brand of Catholicism that I experienced in most of the church communities I had seen up until then. That’s not to condemn those who are catechists except to realize that charism is not my own.

    When I came to Mt. Irenaeus I was truly attracted to the Secular Franciscans and I am very much a secular today, trying to live the Gospel each day in my life and after the example of Francis and Clare. The friars, seculars and the visitors I meet at Mt. Irenaeus reaffirm for me that I have a Franciscan heart and that I am a mystic. That is really a very wonderful gift and one that I should be more grateful for. 🙂 Don

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