Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Human beings are not meant to exist in isolation and separation. We are made for communion with God and with each other. Heaven will be lived within the unbreakable bonds of love established with God, and with every person in Heaven sharing in God’s love. So why did Jesus prepare for His public ministry in solitude? Why go off by Himself for so long?
Jesus’ solitude was an opportunity for Him to allow His human nature to rest in the spiritual union He shared with His Father as God. God the Son, in the Person of Jesus Christ in the flesh, dwelt in perfect union with His Father in Heaven without activities or distractions. This taste of Heaven on Earth was made possible only by the solitude of the desert.
In your own life, solitude is essential from time to time so that you can enter more fully into communion with God. Solitude has the potential of bringing about greater communion and oneness with God. That deeper communion with God then makes it possible for you to share more deeply in authentic and holy communion with other people.
By analogy, think about the person with whom you are closest, such as a spouse, child, parent, or friend. Though talking with them is necessary and helps build a close bond, being with them in mutual solitude also deepens your bond. For example, imagine a husband and wife sitting together in the evening, not speaking, just being with each other, in silence. The mutual solitude and silence form a deep spiritual bond that talking cannot produce.
So it is with God. If you want to enter into the deepest form of union with God as possible in this life, solitude and silence with Him are essential so that you can simply “be” with Him. Practically speaking, this might be best accomplished by taking time each day to close your eyes, enter into your soul, acknowledge the presence of God within you, and then just be with Him, there, in the depths of your soul. Saint Teresa of Ávila referred to this as the “prayer of recollection.”
Ponder the fact that solitude is for communion with God and with others. Solitude enables us to unite ourselves with God and others on a profound and deep level. As you think about Jesus being alone in the desert, ponder the fact that, in His solitude and silence, He was deeply united to His Father. His example teaches us that we, too, must seek out love and union with God and with others in solitude, allowing the language of silence to communicate the deepest truths of love.
My Lord of solitude, within the silence of the desert, Your holy solitude enabled You to rest fully in communion with Your Father in Your humanity. It was there that You continued to offer Your humanity to the Father and to live as One. Please draw me closer to You and to Your Father within the solitude of my life. Help me to be committed to time every day when all I do is be with You. I love You, my Lord. Help me to love You more. Jesus, I trust in You.