Wednesday, September 2, 2015

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

It is best to learn to silence the faculties and to cause them to be still, so that God may speak.
--St John of the Cross: (1542 – 1591:
A major figure of the Counter-Reformation, a Spanish mystic, a Roman Catholic saint, a Carmelite friar and a priest)

Gospel Text: (Lk 4:38-44)
After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Today’s reading depicts a Jesus on the move. We see a Jesus who leaves the synagogue, enters the house of Simon, rebukes a fever, lays hands on the sick, cures the multitudes and sets out to preach in other synagogues. He doesn’t seem to stop. It exhausts me just reading it!

But Jesus does pause in his ministry. We almost miss Luke’s passing mention of how, “at daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.” We can only assume that Jesus went there to pray and rest.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. Some things just need to be done if we want to keep our jobs. But many of us find an allure to having a hectic schedule. Checking off activities on our “to-do” list can engender a feeling of pride, especially in societies that value productivity. When our culture values doing over being, then constant activity appeals to us. Further, perpetual motion can distract us from deeper issues that God may be calling us to explore.

Thus, prayer can remind us of why we’re busy. Or, more importantly, for whom we’re busy. Jesus preached and cured for the glory of God, his Father. Imitating Jesus, we too are called to work for the glory of God. But we can only do this when we take time to pause in our activity and pray with God and for each other.

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