This is a folk story from Greece which has a moral fitting the ethos at the Retreat.
A bishop was told about three reclusive monks living on a deserted island within his dioceses. He had never heard of them before and was curious to find out what they were doing.
Arriving one day by boat he was horrified to find them living in a simple wooden hut and had not built any special house of worship. Furthermore they did not know any of the church’s theology. They did not seem to understand the words heresy, sin and perdition. He spent three days trying to teach them the simplest prayer he knew but they seemed to have great difficulty remembering the words. So he gave up in disgust and sailed away on a calm evening on the third day.
He was looking back at the island wondering what he should do with the three monks when he was astonished to see a large bright light skimming over the waves towards him. The light stopped suddenly very close to the side of the boat and within it he saw the three monks.
“Father,” they cried. “We have already forgotten your prayer. Please repeat it again.”
The astounded bishop shook his head.
“My sons,” he said. “Carry on as you were before. I see you are doing very well without it.”
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
(I. Cor. 3:16).
There is a certain amount of magic in believing.
Some people say,
“I will only believe it when I see it.”
But true faith is believing what you cannot see.
That is the true test of faith.
(Saying of K.B.N, 6th January)