On September 20-29, The St Lucia Retreat Centre organised a retreat lead by Father Chris. “The Universal Christ” by Richard Rohr was the theme for the eight days. There were 15 participants including lay people and nuns from various congregations.
From this retreat I learned to see God in all things including in a dog! The process was not easy. During the retreat, Father Chris brought his dog from Johannesburg. This dog followed him wherever he went. My thoughts were full of anger, concern, and disgust!
Of the many sessions, two of them helped me most. One was the session of mindfulness meditation practice (morning session). It has helped me to recognize how my thinking can block my seeing and enjoying reality. Fr. Christ emphasized that our thought can be busy thinking about our past or our future, but not our NOW… and it can cause fear, worry, and anger. If we want to see Christ, we must live for NOW, in the present. The other process that helps me was colouring mandala pictures, let the colour chose me, that made me relax, and the result was AMAZING…
And at one moment, when my eyes met the dog’s there was a strange pounding in my heart. There was a tickling swish running through my body. From watchfulness, endurance and alertness I turned to gentleness and embracing. From excluding to including! From hostility to friendship! At this point I saw Love reveal herself. Because at that moment I knew I was out of myself and united with other creatures… to be part of creation. A creation that it’s Creator loves. And I meet God in dog, and I feel FREE.
Sr Siti Hasanah. Oct 2020
"I dedicate this book to my beloved fifteen-year-old black lab, Venus, Whom I had to release to God while beginning to write this book. Without any apology, lightweight theology, or fear of heresy, I can appropriately say that Venus was also Christ for me."
Richard Rohr "The Universal Christ"