CMA’s Seminary Students’ Mandatory Monastery Retreat at Graymoor, Garrison, NY
Podcast Two: “The Rationale for Disciple” from CMA Seminary’s “Personal Spiritual Formation” with Dr. Ronald Walborn (2005 at Delta Lakes Bible Conference)
Imagine your Christian seminary ministerial or youth pastor student being required to take a three-day retreat at a nearby monastery. Imagine their Dean stating “For our “Spiritual Formation” course we require our students to go to Graymoor Monastery at Garrison, NY. Imagine doing your “silence” and “centering prayer” in their retreat rooms, chapels, and gardens. What would this be like?
Well, let’s visit Graymoor via our computer. Look round its grounds. Inspect its statues and shrines.
Find its labyrinth and peace pole here: http://www.atonementfriars.org/our_missions_and_ministries/labyrinth_and_peace_pole.html Look into what “Graymoor” really is here: http://www.atonementfriars.org/who_we_are/graymoor.html.
As you look round, you’ll read much about the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement or At-one-ment: Father Paul Wattson. Reading a bit of his bio you’ll learn that over a century ago Father Wattson needed a name for his friars. And the name came when he opened a Bible to the fifth chapter of Romans where he noticed the eleventh verse. This reads: “…we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” The last word of the verse immediately stood out as at-one-ment and thus the Society had its name. He wrote: “Pain can be healed, hatred can be turned to love, division can be turned to unity, The Church can and will be one.”
Read here about the term “at-one-ment.” http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=5095 The Graymoor web site states: “Since its inception in 1898, reconciliation and healing through atonement--the unity of men and women with God and with one another--has been the mission of the Friars’ work and ministries to people of every race, religion, and walk of life.”
Now, to continue your Graymoor Tour. View more here at: http://www.atonementfriars.org/who_we_are/graymoor.html. Here’s an online map too, http://www.atonementfriars.org/who_we_are/sites_at_graymoor.html , to help in your exploration. The first stop is a “Crucifixion Scene” at its entrance. Next, there’s a “triangular garden” complete with a “Shrine of Our Lady of the Atonement.” http://www.atonementfriars.org/who_we_are/our_lady_of_the_atonement.html
You might wonder why Mary has such prominent shrines at Graymoor. Well, history tells us that Father Wattson claimed to have seen apparitions of Mary. Read about Graymoor’s Lady of Atonement in the article: “Our Lady of Atonement: Mother of Christian Unity” here at: http://www.theanglocatholic.com/tag/graymoor/. Make sure to notice (toward the end of the article) where Br. Stephen Treat, O. Cist tells us what its symbolism means. Amazing!
Upon leaving this shrine site there’s St. Francis Convent II, Our Lady of Angels Church, St. John the Baptist Church, and Our Lady of the Atonement Retreat House. And then it seems that Graymoor just goes on and on with its churches, retreat centers, shrines, stores, gardens, and sacred spots. It’s even on the Appalachian Trail.
What a place to take impressionable young folks to. What a place to introduce them to all of the idolatry of Catholicism. What a place for a Dean to invite anyone to come and get apart to rest and be with the Lord. What a travesty!
Walborn, with his enthusiastic endorsement of Graymoor and its beauties, reminds me of contemplative Ruth Haley Barton who sits in the convent at the Loretto Center at her Transforming Center inviting us in for time apart. And as the scenes unfold you’ll notice a sign on one of the convent doors reading “Be still and know that I am!”
One might wonder how all of the folks there at Delta Lake Conference just sat there, and listened to Walborn’s glowing descriptions of what an incredibly beautiful place Graymoor was without just jumping up, and walking out. But evidently not, for the teaching went on for several more days, and not only that for two more years after that again. For in 2006, and 2007 Walborn announced once more that he takes his students on Graymoor retreats. What has happened to “discerning Christians?” Seems like, though, many are intent on turning right around and finding their “at-one-ment” right back in the waiting arms of Rome. And courses like Ron Walborn’s “Personal Spiritual Formation” with all its mystical Catholic resources, and prayers are conditioning them to make an easy journey right over into Catholicism with the blessing of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church and its Seminary Dean.
I would implore you, if you think Catholicism offers our evangelical students truth, to go to former Catholic Mike Gendron’s web site, and to read some of the information there. Pastor Mike tells what darkness is in Catholicism, and pleads with us as Christians to be aware of how much they need Jesus alone to be freed from their ties to its lies. See here: http://proclaimingthegospel.org/
Learn to Discern Granny Verse: John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”