I will never forget the impact of the words flowing over and into me as my friend read me quotes from Macrina’s book a few years ago. I was at a place and space in my life where I needed input, healing and direction. Somehow, her words landed in my soul, sunk deeply, and took root. I was on a personal retreat so I bought Macrina’s book Seasons of Your Heart and was drawn in immediately and intensely.
I was mesmerized by both her writing style, and the depth of Macrina’s own thoughts. In my own way, I recognized her soul’s thoughts as very similar to my own. Her writing style, so very similar to my own. I needed to learn more from this woman. I had found a new mentor from afar.
I stalked Macrina on Facebook and was quite surprised when she accepted my friend request. I am sure I wrote her an incredibly overbearing and animated messages, trying not to sound like a stalker, but assert myself so she knows I’m serious voice. I tried to convey to her what her work meant to me. Macrina was patient and kind in response, so I asked her if I prsumptively could come visit her. Again, much to my surprise and joy, a friend and I went to visit her and learn from her just a few months later on a retreat.
Macrina is a Benedictine Monk, living in St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith Arkansas. I had never met a monk, let alone one who was a woman. I had no idea that was a thing. She explained to me that they are Monastics, Thus “Monks” in the Benedictine tradition.
I soaked up everything Macrina had to teach me, in her patient and kind way. She laughs so well and is so fun to be around. I learned silence and solitude from her. I learned that life, in all its twists and turns, ups and downs is always there to teach us and point us to God. Even our character flaws can teach us, she taught me. Once we acknowledge their existence, we can begin to be honest and grow from there.
Over the years, I’ve been to a few of Macrina’s retreats, and have developed a true friendship with her. I was so excited to find out that she was working on a new book called
The premise of her book is this: The teachers we can learn from are often the ones we normally want to shrug off, ignore, or hide because of shame or pride. Some of the voices are more positive and familiar to us. What if we tuned in and truly welcomed these teachers, asked God what he was trying to teach us through them, and then listen and wait?
Here is an excerpt from Macrina’s book The Flowing Grace Of Now.
Here is an exercise in humility you might want to try sometime this week—perhaps every day this week. Use your imagination and throw a banquet for the crippled, blind, and lame parts of yourself. Invite your doubts, your pride, and your superiority and arrogance. Invite your resentments, your selfishness, your narrow-mindedness, and your prejudice. In all probability, you won’t find any of these invited guests trying to claim the first place. They will more likely all climb into the chair reserved for you. Here is one last suggestion. Treat each of these guests with reverence. Try to discover what this invitee is to teach you. O lavish Caregiver, Each day I am invited to your feast of life. Teach me to be grateful as I take my place at the table of plenty. Show me how to honor even my faults. They teach me humility. They have the potential of being transformed into something beautiful. They can become my teachers. May I learn to listen to my life. Your teacher for the week will be the crippled and lame parts of yourself. Our faults and weaknesses can become our best teachers. Choose one each day this week. Try to discern why it is a part of your life.
Macrina’s book takes the reader through the weeks of the year, with a suggestion of a “teacher” for each of those weeks. Her insights are powerful and help me center my soul, focus again on Jesus and remember that all of life is here to learn from. I highly suggest this wonderful book! Macrina is a beautiful person and a wonderful friend to all who turn the pages of her books.