Alone but not lonely

{ Mark 1:29-39}

Today’s Gospel has Christ healing the sick and also casting out demons.  But later in the  reading appointed for today, we see that Christ Himself has to go away for some quality ” alone time”.

“In the morning , when it was still very dark, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed.”

Even the Son of Man sought solitude.

Maybe it is because I am a natural introvert, but solitude never has bothered me. I come from a family of extroverts who cannot comprehend why I often choose solitude over time with mere acquaintances, or even good friends. My wonderful but totally  secular family does not realize how important my private prayer time is to my emotional & spiritual health.

Our modern society frowns upon solitude.   Introversion is something that  many psychotherapists try to ” cure ” in their clients.  The mainstream culture tells us that we always have to be the  metaphorical ” life of the party”, & to crave anything but to  always be in the thick of social interactions with other people is  deemed ” abnormal”.

Well,  today’s Scripture lesson says that even Our Lord took time alone to pray, and the writer of the Gospel of Mark says that Jesus went to a place away from the  crowds immediately after He  performed healing miracles.   It sure sounds as if  Jesus had a busy evening, what with all the healing & the driving away of demons occurring.

He also needed time away to rest & to pray. This is a lesson for all of us. Even though I am more contemplative than many  folks I know , I still can get carried away with all the ” busy-ness” of life . But on the rare occasions when I don’t take the time to  retreat to my  special private prayer place at home to pray I * do* feel the negative effects of a worn-out soul.  Having a worn-out soul is even worse than suffering from a worn-out body. No one  is able to serve God without first taking time out every day to remember to spend time WITH God.

Benedictines have a motto that goes something like this:

” Ora et Labora” Work & pray. Benedictine community life is structured around  times for work, play & PRAYER. While prayer occurs & community, the importance of one’s personal time with God is paramount.

Amen.

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Comments

  • Mary  On 01/13/2010 at 11:58 pm

    You should think about going on a retreat to Pluscarden Abbey in Elgin, Scotland!

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