“Is my heart serene? /Am I immensely joyful at being a human?” Two questions raised by Fr. Paul Geraghty as he offered a modest reflection of his life as a monk for over a decade, with Dom John Main and his pastoral care of St. Anthony’s Parish for almost 20 years. Some 26 priests from around the English sector of the Archdiocese attended the retreat. 

Fr. Paul presented most eloquently and thoughtfully his experience of contemplation supporting his sharing the jewels of wisdom from various mystics and teachers. Here are some: (slight adaptations) 

  • To teach or be taught in depth inspires our hearts. 
  • Our deeper call is in the depths of our hearts, not on the surface. 
  • My call to priesthood is not the reason G-d loves me; I am loved because G-d loves me. 
  • The golden thread of G-d does not work our way. 
  • The good teacher is to lead you to the door of the cave of your heart and disappear. 

There are 2 forms of prayer, one is kataphatic which uses various tools such as the Rosary or the Bible, etc. and apophatic which does not require middle supports but is a journey from heart to heart.  

This deeper contemplative prayer life leads to absorption of self and a greater depth of Christ’s love. A statement that highlights this is a G-d statement, “You are the love of which I love.” The contemplative mode invites the mind into the heart and is not analytical and this prayer of the heart is essential to true prayer. It leads to an intimacy that is expressed by the following, “The eye with which I see G-d is the one eye that sees me and is the one eye of G-d.” 

Here are a few more jewels heard at the retreat: 

  • “The point of truth is occupied by G-d and not touched by anyone.” 
  • “The gate of heaven is everywhere.” 
  • “This prayer life is living in the ordinary with transfigured vision.” 
  • “You were within but I was without.” St. Augustine 
  • “G-d cannot be objectified but must be engaged.” 
  • “The kingdom of G-d is within and around you.” 
  • “It is an error to say that we are separate from one another.” 
  • “What does G-d do all day? G-d gives birth.” 
  • “God wants only our desire to receive everything that G-d wants to give us.” 
  • “Contemplative prayer allows us to realize, ‘we are walking on the surface of the infinite depths of our lives’.” 

It was clear that the monastic and diocesan priestly life, which Fr. Paul offered to us in reflection, was a true gift and gave new insight to many of the priests gathered. The day was enhanced by a delightful meal and periods of silence and morning and evening prayer.  

Thank you for your gift Fr. Paul. 


Fr. Mike Shaw
St. Edward the Confessor Mission