Trip 1, to Texas
I’ve structured my sabbatical in 5 parts: 4 week-long stays at various monasteries, with time at home in between, and a vacation with my family. The first week-long stay will be at Lebh Shomea House of Prayer, a Roman Catholic hermitage and retreat center near Sarita, Texas, which is south of Corpus Christi, near the coast.
I decided to go here from having read some of the books written by two of the members of the core community there, Marie Theresa Coombs, a hermitess, and Fr Francis Kelly Nemeck, OMI. Some of their books that I’ve read can be seen here. The Spiritual Journey was especially helpful to me when I read it, as the authors lean heavily on St John of the Cross, who discusses in detail the transitions between the stages of spiritual life, something I haven’t found so clearly put in Orthodox writings.
“Lebh Shomea” is Hebrew for “a listening heart,” from 1 Kings 3.9, Solomon’s prayer for wisdom, where he asks, “Give your servant lebh shomea, a listen heart, so that he is able to discern.”
The House of Prayer offers solitary retreats and the possibility for spiritual direction while staying there. I am looking to take advantage of both the solitude and the direction, to pray and to be guided.
After a week at Lebh Shomea, I’ll drive to my hometown, Clute, TX, and visit some relatives and family friends, and then go on to Comfort, TX, where my parents live, to see them for a little while before I fly home.