5th Sunday OTB~ Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer/The Truth about Solitude
Does this gospel sound familiar to you?
It should. After all, it contains a lot of familiar things:
A mother-in-law with a headache.
People pounding at the door.
A tight work schedule…
No wonder the Lord gets up early
just to grab some peace and quiet.
After a full day packed with pressure and stress, it says this:
“Rising very early before dawn,
Jesus left and went to a deserted place,
where he prayed.”
Why does he do this?
Was it simply to find some peace and quiet?
No. Not really.
He wasn’t looking for peace and quiet.
He was looking for solitude.
And solitude is deeper than peace and quiet.
Because, in the solitude before dawn,
Jesus was seeking the truth about who he was.
Put yourself in his place some morning
when you wake up early
and get out of bed
before the others in the house.
What do you do?
Maybe you sit at the kitchen table and, for a moment,
you stare at your daughter’s book bag…
and your heart goes out to her
because you know how much she struggles to have a friend.
She needs a friend, but there is little that you can do about it.
And the room around you is silent.
But in its silence, you touch a truth about yourself
that is connected to your daughter and your love for her…
A truth about your life that only the silence of an early morning
Maybe, at that point, you get up and go into the living room.
And look at the pictures:
· Your wedding day.
· Your parents.
· A son in a football jersey.
The pictures are silent but they speak a truth…
a gentle truth about that which is most important to you…
the truth of who you are
the truth of who you are to them…
a truth set within the frame of all the love and grace that you have received
and the suffering and the sacrifice you have offered.
This is the truth that waits for you
on a weekday morning
in the silent prayer of solitude.
The truth of who you are in this world
and truth of who you are in God.
It’s there in the solitude.
You sense it…
in the beating of your heart;
in the warmth of your skin.
The “you” you are to yourself.
The “you” you are to God.
Soon the new day will begin.
Your family will be awake.
The phone will ring
and someone will turn on the TV.
But, in the solitude,
you will have touched a truth about who you are,
a truth that is deep, deeper than
the work and the routine
and the schedule and activity of the day.
Friends, we cannot live without this type of prayer.
Our lives turn crazy
if we fail to practice this kind of prayer.
And the reason is simple: We can’t live without the truth…
the truth of who we are
in the silence before dawn;
the truth of who we are
in the silence before God.