Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Peace and Solitude

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. - Mark 1:35

This particular verse of scripture stood out to me as it was being proclaimed by the priest at Mass this evening. How often do we think about the prayer life of the Son of God? Most of the time when we think of Jesus praying, it is publically, but occasionally the Gospels give us brief insight into the Lord's private prayer, his intimate communication with his Father in heaven.

The first thing that is apparent is that Jesus prayed when it was dark outside. The second thing is that Jesus prayed when no one else was around. Both of these insights would affirm that Jesus, when he was praying alone, wanted as few distractions as possible. When it is dark the world is calm. There is no hustle and bustle of people tending to their daily duties. There is simply quiet, peace. It is at times like this that the quiet whisper of God's voice can be heard because there is little to draw our focus away from him. Similarly, when you are alone, all of your thoughts can be lifted to heaven without distraction. The focus of prayer is God rather than God plus the people around you.

How did Jesus pray? The Lord's Prayer gives us some idea of the contents of the prayers of Jesus: the holiness of the heavenly Father, daily nourishment, and protection from the time of trial. I also believe that Jesus prayed the Psalms, Israel's prayer book, and this is the reason behind the praying of the Hours in the Church today. Another example of the Church following the lead of her Lord and Savior.

So, while the communal prayer of the Church is vital to the welfare of all Christians, private prayer in quiet solitude fosters a sense of devotion to the Blessed Trinity which in turn leads to greater love of and participation in the communal prayer of the Church. It is a circle of positive feedback.

In the daytime God sends his faithful love,
and even at night;
the song it inspires in me
is a prayer to my living God. - Psalms 42:8


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