Maybe you're not seeing quarantine as a blessing in disguise yet? Here's the way to turn it into an authentic spiritual retreat.
Your Life Is Everlasting offers the unique experience of a home retreat. A “providential stroke of genius,” this book allows you to make an authentic spiritual retreat and “not waste” the blessing in disguise of lockdown.
Sculptor Fleur Nabert, who collaborated with the author, Pierre-Marie Dumont (the Founder of Magnificat magazine), on the book’s artistic content, speaks with Aleteia about how you can transfigure your lockdown with patience, peace, and profundity, all in just a few hours.
Aleteia: Fleur, what do you mean by the surprising words “don’t waste” your lockdown?
Nabert: There’s the future, which frightens us with all its uncertainties. And then there’s the present, and its imposed immobility. But we only live in the present. If we find the restrictions of lockdown more and more difficult to live with, I think we also sense it can be an opportunity for spiritual blessing. Being confined to the house is very odd; the hours seem to drag by. But it’s also the chance to discover a time of calm when we can explore interior paths. For that you need to find the right guide. Your Life Is Everlasting by Pierre-Marie Dumont is not just a book: it’s a journey, an initiation in the best sense of the word. A journey that starts from the finite (and in this case, confined) world and leads to an infinite, sublime, and free universe! It takes us on a spiritual journey in search of our reason for being.
Aleteia: Do you mean this book can turn enforced confinement into a freely chosen retreat?
Nabert: This book’s providential stroke of genius is that it offers an authentic spiritual retreat perfectly adapted to the strange times of this health crisis. From beginning to end, the reader is guided, “coached,” by the author to make this time, not an occasion for stress, but a path of spiritual elevation. All you need is an hour a day for seven days, set aside in your schedule, to “sanctuarize” you might say, this time. Even confined with children and your spouse it’s possible to find these consecutive hours. I did it with three small children!
Then you’re taken by the hand on a walk amid multiple treasures: splendid works of art to contemplate, magnificent music that truly frees the soul, amazing meditations to make your deepest being blossom. And that one hour of infinite beauty will change everything: your lockdown will be transfigured by patience, peace, and profundity.
Aleteia: Pierre-Marie Dumont speaks of the “last things” as a subject for meditation in this trying and deeply challenging time.
Nabert: Yes, in the past, Christian preaching on conversion and mission was indeed focused on the “last things.” It proposed the vanity of earthly life from the perspective of death and the last judgment. It challenged people, calling on them to “remember you must die!” And that bore fruit. Many converted and changed their life. Today, we no longer talk about death and eschatological prospects. We find distractions to avoid thinking about it. Pierre-Marie Dumont clearly proposes we return to it in this challenging time so sadly marked by all the bereavements caused by Covid-19. Not by going back to a preaching of fear. But, on the contrary, by offering a preaching of joy and happiness. And how we need that in these unusual days! In fact, the subject of this astonishing book is not to tell us “remember you must die!” but “remember that you are eternal!” And that changes everything.
Aleteia: So death is no longer to be feared?
Nabert: Ever since the Fall, death has become an accident of life. And a serious accident, terrifying in so many regards. However, as Pierre-Marie Dumont so nicely puts it, “death is not a fatal accident.” He writes, “When we think of the ultimate meaning of our existence, we can never see the forest for the trees. That tree is our inevitable death. In fact, the prospect of our death keeps us from seeing the great and definitive fact that God created us eternal…. It’s not because the human being became mortal that he stopped being promised to eternity. We are living beings forever, and nothing and no one can put an end to our life. So it is first of all in the certain expectation that our existence is eternal that we must learn how to live… and how to die.”
Aleteia: Could beauty be the saving grace of our lockdown?
Nabert: The book leads to this ultimate sublime prospect: “God’s creative plan is that our life should know no end, and therefore that, after our earthly pilgrimage, it continues forever having been adopted by love into the very heart of divine Life itself, to our incommensurable joy…. In the parousia of Jesus Christ the truth of Creation will be made manifest and we will be able to give thanks, eternally, for the supreme beauty of our reason for being.”
This book contains every visible and invisible beauty to counter boredom, stress, emptiness, impatience, or loneliness to make of this lockdown a journey in quest for the treasure of our everlastingness!