by Andy Sensenig OMI
Ministering at an eremitical-inspired retreat center like Lebh Shomea House of Prayer in Sarita, TX is unusual for a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate, because I live alone in a hermitage and not in a community.
Yet, Lebh Shomea is a special place, with over 1,100 beautiful acres in South Texas dedicated to one virtue: praying in silence.
Silence and prayer had a large influence in the life of our founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod. Here at Lebh Shomea, for over 45 years, our ministry has been making that experience available not only to Oblates, but to lay people as well.
Praying in silence is never dull, and offers opportunities to develop new appreciation for even commonly used devotions like the rosary.
I pray the full rosary each day. That means I pray the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries each day. I often pray my rosary, while walking from the main campus of Lebh Shomea towards our entry gate and back.
My rosary of choice is often my Paracord (parachute cord) rosary or one of my finger rosaries.
Praying the mysteries as I walk along the country road, the vast landscape gently pulls me into a deeper sense of each mystery. But lately, this practice has helped me to appreciate all the good work my Mazenodian Family (which are my brother Oblates, Oblate employees and Oblate Associates) do each and every day.
The item that has brought this to mind is the fence line that runs along the road and the gate itself.
Fences are special, because they are boundaries for land. But boundaries are also important for us and our world. To have healthy boundaries is a key element in maintaining our human dignity.
So as I walk along, I pray for my Mazenodian Family, who are ministering in different cultures from their own. I pray for those who are ministering to people whose boundaries have been violated, as well as for those who are helping people break through unjust situations.
As the mysteries grow in my heart, I pray for all of us to know God as personally as St. Eugene did in his life. And what better way to journey along with Jesus and Mary than in the rosary?
To journey well with people on their spiritual wanderings is to walk with them slowly and carefully. This rosary practice teaches me how to live not only along the fence lines of my own heart, and the hearts of others, but along the fence lines where my heart meets God as well.
So if you need some time to discover or rediscover those fence lines in your spiritual wanderings, please consider coming to Lebh Shomea.
The silence of this sacred place is always a magnificent simple joy. Just know, when you see me walking on road with a rosary in hand that I am praying for you and your intentions.