Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

A Holy Week


Thank you for your prayers this past week—a holy week for me as I took time away for retreat. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get still and go deep in time with God…and perhaps less amazed at how much time I spent napping the first day! There was certainly a level of exhaustion that needed to be addressed—something that many of you probably also share.

I’m still pondering my retreat time and what I saw and heard within it. I spent the time at Holy Trinity Monastery in southeastern Arizona. I enjoyed the heat of the sun and the great variety of birds, including a flock of peacocks (more on them next week). I appreciated the chance to immerse myself in the daily office liturgies, which once formed a major part of my spiritual life (some of you may know that I met my husband Henry at a monastery in Massachusetts!).

DSC_2019One amazing thing about the desert heat is its ability to dry out dead wood and leave fantastic shapes for all the world to see. I saw faces in old tree stumps (one of which formed the base of the altar in the church) and a dragon’s mouth—or a cock’s comb?—in a crumbling cottonwood tree. DSC_2300That dead wood had the power to teach me about seeing the face of God in everything—including the “dead wood” of my own former years!

I also pondered some questions about this stage in my life—about my core purpose and desires for my ministries in the months ahead. Questions that arose included where I am most authentic and what exactly is the gospel that I “preach” in what I do. Ultimately I believe it is the gospel of Love.

A love that is manifest in the biblical story of this Holy Week. God became incarnate in Jesus out of love, and Jesus walked that road to Calvary out of love. We all still have so much to learn about living that love in our own lives. In this Holy Week, I invite you to focus on the meaning of love in your own life, and what that Love might be calling out of you—in this and every holy week of your life.


Author: Shirin McArthur

I'm a spiritual guide, retreat leader, writer and editor.

3 thoughts on “A Holy Week

  1. Thank you for your beautiful words. It is in Loving that I most feel the Grace of God.


  2. You’re welcome, Maria! Love is a very powerful force, isn’t it?


  3. Pingback: Another Face in the Wood | Shirin McArthur

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