February 14, 2018 at 2:46 pm #1172
Jesus is one step ahead of the people and the crowds. They come, he goes.
He is annoyingly elusive only hanging around for a while and then heading off to somewhere else. Often, however, Jesus is found in the lonely places.
It is from these lonely places that we sense the awareness of the absence of others and feel their nearness in our desire for their love and care.
In this separation a longing rises that draws from us a compassion that will either make us or break us. It will make us in that we will have found peace to be with ourselves; it will break us if we cannot find that peace.
It is from these lonely places, as Thomas Merton encourages us by saying, "Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer." Then in this prayer having cleared
ourselves of clutter and distraction we can attend again to the tasks of ministry and service without resentment or prejudice. But, we are not always that peaceful so we need the challenge of solitude and to resolve our lonely places. Here also, as with Jesus, we face the will of God.
Florence Nightingale, in reflecting on her life and work commented; "If I could give you information of my life it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do in His service what He has done in her.
And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. I have worked hard, very hard, that is all; and I have never refused God anything."
On leaving the desert, we find ourselves back in the world, in the midst of all the confusions, surrounded by our fellow men and women. …Humanity too is as real as God, and we must seek, love, and serve human beings just as we seek, love, and serve God. We could say, seeking, serving, loving each other makes God real. And finally, Carlo Caretto reminds us, that …"the closer you come to God as you ascend the slopes of contemplation, the greater grows your craving to love human beings on the level of service. It is to each other we must return.
Grace and peace, James.
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