Normally when I think of Jesus in the Gospels I think all the things he does. I think of him as a man of action. I think of him traveling from town to town preaching and teaching, healing and helping. In recent days I have been struck by the passages in the Gospels that report how Jesus would go off alone to pray. Although I have no official count (I welcome someone to do that bit of homework and report back to me.), I did find numerous occasions where Jesus went away to be re-energized through prayer. He took special time for quiet meditation and to spend personal time with God. It seemed that Jesus, like many of us, was unable to steal large periods of time away from duties. But somehow He found quality moments to set aside.
Jesus maintained a holy rhythm in the midst of His full life of ministry. He went off after periods of victory such as after feeding the five thousand (Mt 14:22-23). We read that Jesus took time off before making major decisions like when he chose the twelve (Lk 6:12-13). Jesus also took time away after heavy periods of ministry (Mk 6:30-32). And it is also recorded that Jesus took private time to pray to discern the will of the Father (Lk 22:41).
I need to be better at this. Even though I start my day with forty-five minutes before the Blessed Sacrament and gather with my Sisters three times a day to pray, I need to be better at going off alone at different times throughout my days and weeks. In my life that is full with meaningful, necessary, and holy work, I must be more disciplined about stealing quiet times when I can be alone in order to call to mind the holy and reconnect with God. I feel drawn to take more time to think, imagine, and daydream. Too often I fill my personal prayer by doing things. I become preoccupied with reading reflections and holy books or by listening to recorded lectures and music. Like Jesus, I need to be re-energized through prayer.
Scripture has reminded me that I need to respect the emptiness of going off alone to pray. As we know, it is in the quiet hush that we can best hear God. It is in the inner stillness that we give room for the Spirit to be active in us and through us. I think it is pretty cool that Jesus has taught me a great deal in his seeming inactivity. I am saying here and now that I am committed to following Jesus’ example. I will break free of the whirlwind of life and take time to go off alone to pray.
Public domain photo from Wikipedia.org
Sister Lisa Maurer
Sister Lisa Maurer was born and raised in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Before entering the Monastery, she taught and coached in Catholic Schools within the New Ulm Diocese. Sister Lisa made her first Monastic Profession in August 2009 and on July 11, 2012, she made her Perpetual Profession. Her first ministry was working at the parishes of St. Lawrence and St. Joseph in Duluth. Currently she is the Mission Integration Manager of the Benedictine Health System. See all of Sister Lisa’s posts.