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Triduum Retreat

Luminous Darkness

Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday

April 14 - 17

This year’s Triduum retreat will explore the mystical experience of Luminous Darkness. Central to Christian mysticism, Luminous Darkness is less of a description than it is an admission of the failure of language to define God or our experience of God. This is because it speaks of a darkness we encounter not from the absence of light but for having been blinded by its abundance. The Paschal Mystery of Christ as experienced through the interplay of darkness and light is written into the very fabric of the universe. The Triduum begins in the darkness of Maundy Thursday. On Good Friday, when the light of the sun is at its zenith, the shadow of eclipse falls across the land. The darkness of the Great Vigil is pierced by an ancient acclamation, “Christ our Light!” born from the blessing of holy fire. And the brilliance of sunrise on Easter morning is met by the darkness of an empty tomb – the first silent herald of the Resurrection.


Over the course of each liturgy throughout the Paschal Triduum, Fr. Vincent will gradually unfold the story of his own deeply personal and seminal experience of luminous darkness that subtly but radically reoriented the course of his life some 20 years ago – and which continues to reverberate today. Woven together with the liturgical celebrations of these Three Days, the Triduum becomes an invitation for others to look deeply into their own hearts where struggles and trials, no matter how dark, are realized as naught but a luminous darkness opening us inevitably to a God who dwells in inaccessible light.


Retreatants are encouraged to take an active role in the liturgical celebrations of the Triduum and will have an opportunity to participate in activities that will take place in the natural beauty of West Marin. Each of these are arranged to invite further reflection on the interplay between darkness and light central to our theme this year.

Father Vincent Pizzuto, PhD is Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Mysticism in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. He received his doctorate in New Testament Exegesis from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (2003) and has since published and presented internationally in the areas of New Testament christology, ecological discipleship, marriage equality, inter-religious dialogue, Christian mysticism and contemplative Christian spirituality. In 2018 he published his second book, Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life with Liturgical Press; translated in Spanish, Contemplar a Cristo: Los Evangelios y la vida interior, (Desclée de Brouwer) in January 2022. As an Episcopal priest Fr. Vincent serves as Vicar of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church and Retreat House in Inverness, California. Working for the advancement of contemplative Christianity, he has reinvigorated the mission and ministry of St. Columba’s through the introduction of contemplative eucharistic liturgies, public lectures, online courses, directed retreats, thought provoking sermons, an online blog and a weekly online study of his book through the Meditation Chapel.

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