Following Jesus into Silence
Solitude is not easy for some of us. Being alone can be both boring and threatening. Nonetheless, it is the source of refreshment for the soul. Being quiet and alone can open portals to receive the presence of God that are not open when we are busy with other people.
God offers us many gifts. Some of them come through art, some come through relationships, and some come through the exhilaration of being part of a larger group. But there are also gifts that God offers that come only when we are willing to be still and rest, and to be deeply open to Him.
I recall a weekend “retreat” in the mountains of Maryland. After arrival and dinner on Friday evening, we, a group of about 25, were to be silent until Sunday morning. We could read, sleep, pray—almost anything but talk.
The first few hours were torture for me; I am an extrovert. But after a while there was a nurturing quality to the stillness and I experienced some feeding of a part of me that I am not even sure I knew existed. I have never forgotten that weekend.
Jesus modeled this by displaying his need to be alone, to pray, to “go to a place apart.” It tired his spirit and soul to be with crowds constantly, and the New Testament relates that he sought respite in any number of places.
Sometimes his efforts to find solitude were thwarted by the needs of his followers; he often relented. But it cost Him. His teachings seemed to say that He was closest to His Father when He was alone in prayer and reflection. He wants us to seek God in the same way.
Lord God, help me to “be still and know that you are God.” Amen.