July 23

Seeing The Value Of Solitude

July 23 * Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. Mark 6:31

While some cultures build the work day around the afternoon siesta, thus ensuring that all workers have a daily time of renewal, others no longer even endorse the idea of "keeping Sunday." Instead, everyone is constantly "busy," caught up in an endless cycle of tasks to be accomplished. Instead of being a gift, time becomes an oppressive force, leaving little opportunity for our souls to catch up with our constantly running feet.

Recognizing the value of solitude, Jesus invited his disciples to take time out following their work of teaching and healing. Without his intervention, they might have continued ministering to the needy until their energy was completely spent; they had not yet learned to reflect on their experience of service or to integrate these reflections into their own lives. Only in silence could they connect what they had accomplished with God's presence in their lives; only in stillness could they give thanks for what God had worked through their efforts.

Lead us into the stillness of your heart, 0 God, that we may find rest.

Elizabeth-Anne Stewart

Jeremiah 23:1-6 * Psalm 23:1-6 Ephesians 2:13-18 * Mark 6:30-34