Saturday, February 8, 2014

“The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.”

"In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering." – Pope Benedict XVI

Gospel Text: (MK 6:30-34)
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

If you wish... you can? Maybe it would be sounder admitting we cannot do all we would like to...

The need. Our body, our head and our heart have a need: to rest. In these few verses from the Gospel of Mark we have an often ignored manual about resting.

By and large, Americans don’t value rest and relaxation. On the contrary, we’ve made a virtue of unceasing labor; we brag about how busy we are, as if the hectic pace of our lives is proof that we’re important and significant. We feel guilty when we’re not working, and we’re suspicious of anyone else who removes their nose from the grindstone for too long.

I’d like to establish that God himself rests. Anything that God does is by definition a good thing. No one would accuse God of being lazy or unproductive. Yet the Scripture tells us clearly that both God the Father and God the Son took time for rest. In Genesis, the story of creation tells us that.

One of the striking things about this passage is the fact that Jesus withdrew from the crowds just when he was most in demand. Why? Wasn’t that irresponsible, to take a day off when there were so many people needing his help? Wasn’t that a bit self-indulgent? No. Not in the least. Jesus understood that the need was endless. But in order to accomplish the purpose for which God had sent Him, he had to remain spiritually strong. And that required regular times of prayer and meditation, regular times of rest and recuperation.

When we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life we become deaf to the still, small voice of God. We become so busy doing “things” we forget to simply be with Christ. We get tunnel vision, becoming so fixated on completing our list of assigned tasks that we have no time for anything else but work.

Time away from our labors helps us to regain our perspective and realign our priorities. It helps us to remember what’s most important. It reminds us that the things of God are eternal, while the things of this life are temporary. Certainly that’s now painfully obvious to the former employees of Arthur Andersen, many of whom invested years of late nights and long weekends to build their careers, only to find them shattered in a matter of weeks. Yes, there are "many things" we can be doing, many things that are worthwhile and even important. But there is really only one thing that is essential, and that is spending time with Christ.

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