Below is a journal entry from the first morning of my eight-day silent retreat in late July:
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
Because the Lord is my light, my salvation, my stronghold and my protector (v. 1), He is the sole focus of my seeking. And, like David, there is one thing that is my quest. I want to dwell with Him every day of my life. I want to have eyes wide open to see His beauty. I want to be a worshipper. This phrase, “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” captures me particularly.
David Steindl-Rast, in his book Gratefulness, talks about our need for beauty. He talks about how beauty is the aspect in which our feelings perceive reality (p. 141). He describes the connection between beauty and hope. In the midst of these days of silence, I desire to gaze upon Your beauty, Lord. I long for more than a glimpse. I want a long, unhurried vision of Your holy splendor.
I am trusting that a clearer vision of Your beauty will enkindle hope within me where hope has been recently thin. May I hold my human hopes lightly even as I cling to You–my only true Hope.