By Fr. Daniel Renaud, OMI, Originally Published on the Oblate School of Theology Blog
As I highlighted in one of my previous blogs on silence, silence and stillness are pathways to deepen our spiritual life. For many of us, the challenge is to find the right places to befriend silence and to listen to God beckoning us inside of it. Let me briefly tell you about one of those sacred places. Lebh Shomea, from the Hebrew meaning “listening heart,” is a ministry of the Missionary Oblates in the Rio Grande Valley, TX. This house of prayer holds a special place in my heart. Over the years, it has become an integral part of my sacred story. It is a unique oasis of silence, stillness, and study. When I was still living in Canada, Lebh Shomea was my first introduction to the Texas wilderness. There I found “communion with God in silence and solitude within a supportive community.”
Why do I enjoy this place so much? It has a fantastic library of 30,000 books, healthy food, daily mass, three beautiful chapels, and many walking paths. The whole compound is under the dome of the brightest night sky you have ever witnessed. On your way to one of the many private dwellings, as the wind is blowing in the palm leaves, you can gaze at wild animals grazing, seeking shade under the trees.
Here is an excerpt from the mission section found on the Lebh Shomea House of Prayer website (www.lebhshomea.org):
At Lebh Shomea, we focus our resources on the unmet needs of God’s People drawn to deepen their communion with the indwelling Trinity in a desert setting. Above all, we offer intense silence and solitude to anyone called to the House of Prayer. We afford competent spiritual direction and the support of a praying community, together with the possibility of an in-depth study of and research in both Eastern and Western spirituality.
During my last mini-retreat, I interviewed the newly appointed director, Maurice Lange and the two Oblate priests, Fr. Andrew Sensenig, OMI and Fr. Jack Lau, OMI who just arrived last August. Here are the video interviews: CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO SEE THE INTERVIEWS