Friday, March 23, 2018
We are invited to make a retreat.
We are invited to go into solitude.
We are invited to use the sharings
offered here over the seven days
of this Holy Week to both
understand more deeply and
experience more fully
the centrality and richness of
What follows is crafted
for a week long, slow, progressive
prayer and meditation.
We are invited to find quiet time
and space each day
to consider a portion
of what is offered here,
to be in and to savor solitude.
So, "solitude" has eight letters to it,
but in our cultural setting,
it's pretty much a dirty, four letter word.
In reality, though, "solitude"
is ever so purifying,
just like its twin, "society."
They are one in different ways,
two ways to be alive in
The Love Who Is God.
"We need society and we need solitude also
as we need summer and winter,
day and night, exercise and rest."
Philip Gilbert Hamerton
In complementary ways solitude and society
help us find ourselves positioned in the
Center and Source of All,
The One Who Is God.
"We must become so alone,
so totally alone,
that we withdraw into our innermost self.
It is a way of bitter suffering.
But then our solitude is overcome,
we are no longer alone,
for we find that our innermost
self is the spirit,
that it is God,
And suddenly we find ourselves
in the midst of the world,
yet undisturbed by its multiplicity,
for in our innermost soul
we know ourselves
to be one with all being.
Solitude and Society.
Jesus thrived on this complementary oneness.
He was out and about with the folks a- plenty;
connecting, caring, healing,
teaching - enlivening!
He urged us to get out as well
in active people love and care,
"Love each other as I have loved you..."
"I was hungry and
you gave me food,
I was thirsty and
you gave me something to drink.
I was a stranger and
you welcomed me,
I was naked and
you gave me clothing,
I was sick and
you took care of me,
I was in prison and
you visited me...
Whatever you did to the least
you did unto me."
Matthew 25: 35-36 & 40
Jesus also went off by himself to a place apart.
"He got up and slipped away
to a solitary place to pray."
He ventured into solitude
to be immersed in an intense intimacy
with "Abba," his "Daddy."
That's the literal translation.
"Heavenly Father" is a more formal
and less clear translations.
He encouraged us to go apart into solitude as well:
"But when you pray,
go into your room,
close the door and pray
to your Father,
who is unseen.
Then your Father,
who sees what is done in secret,
will reward you."
We are God centered and sourced
in the twin oneness of society and solitude.
In our current cultural context, though,
solitude is far from the preferred twin,
Let's check out both
the problem and the potential,
and see just where we are with solitude
in our spiritual lives out here
on the street of everyday living.
"One of the greatest necessities
in America is to discover
"What a commentary on civilization,
when being alone is suspect,
when one has to apologize for it,
hide the fact that one practices it -
like a secret vice."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"Loneliness is such
an omnipotent and painful threat
to many persons,
that they have little conception
of the positive values of solitude,
and even at times are frightened
at the prospect of being alone.
"We live in a world starved for solitude,
silence and the private:
and therefore starved
for meditation and friendship."
"All men's miseries
derive from not being able
to sit still in a quiet room alone."
"How can you hear your soul
if everyone is talking?"
Mary Doria Russell
"Solitude is a necessary protest
to the incursions and false alarms
of society's hysteria,
a period of cure and recovery."
Abraham Joshua Heschal
Check this out.
Check the day's new's.
And get thee to solitude:
"When society is made up of men
who know no interior solitude
it can no longer be held together by love:
and consequently it is held together
by a violent and abusive authority.
But when men are violently deprived
of the solitude and freedom
which are their due,
then society in which they live
it festers with servility,
resentment and hate."
Get thee to solitude!!
We not only have a problem,
we are in peril.
Yet, we also have potential
if we will center in solitude.
"Your inner voice is the voice of divinity.
To hear it, we need to be in solitude,
even in crowed places."
A. R. Rahman
"Then stirs the feeling infinite,
so felt in solitude,
when we are least alone."
"The happiest of all lives
is a busy solitude."
"A little while alone in your room
will prove more valuable
than anything else that could be given you."
"I am never less alone than when alone."
"The thoughtful soul to solitude retires."
"The reason old souls enjoy spending time alone
is because they never really are."
"Solitude gives birth to the original in us."
"Solitude is the place of purification."
"It is only in solitude that I find my core."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"One can be instructed in society,
one is inspired only in solitude."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"By waiting and calm you shall be saved,
in quiet and trust shall be your strength."
Isaiah 30: 15
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone."
"(Elijah) went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him...
a gentle whisper."
"Come with me by yourselves
to a quiet place,
and get some rest.
So they went away to a solitary place."
( Mark 6:31-32)
"For God alone my soul awaits in silence."
"Nowhere can man find a quieter
or more untroubled retreat than his own soul."
"Be still and know that I am God."
When we take Jesus up on his invite to solitude,
we go to our room and close the door.
our "room" could be a place in our home.
It could be an alone place
on the beach,
or on a mountain top.
It could be in a quiet church,
or in our garden,
or at the local library.
Our "room" is wherever we can be calm and quiet.
We leave phone and texting behind and turned off.
We open the cage and let our monkey mind clear out:
did I pay the mortgage,
wonder if we'll have sex tonight,
can I close that important deal tomorrow,
having sex tonight might de-stress me
for closing that deal tomorrow !!!
(couldn't resist that, well, I could have,
but I really didn't want to!!),
I wonder how my spiritual life
shapes up compared to others,
should I get a gym membership
and start working out,
so on and so forth.
We let those jumping monkeys out
as we relax into to calm quiet.
Our "room" is where we can be alone,
so that we won't be alone
because we are in God's embrace.
"Soul Solitude" is what lovers do.
They delight in being naked to each other.
Naked, they can be all wrapped up in each other.
Nothing in between.
Sometimes it pulses with passion.
Other times it is wordless and still oneness.
Yet other times there is a pondering together.
Whatever the moment and mode in our "room,"
we are loved alive in its solitude.
We then bring that loving aliveness
to others in society with our caring and sharing.
We live a marriage, we raise kids
and spoil grandkids,
we are single and find ways to spend ourselves
for those who really need what we can be and do,
we car pool our kids soccer team,
we invite left outs to have dinner at our place,
we wrap old times into all our good times,
we do an awesome piece of work on the job,
we are active in our spiritual community
however imperfect it may be.
In a word we do what Jesus did
and wants to do through us, we
Solitude blends into society.
Society blends into solitude.
Yes, two ways of being one.
God Bless us every one and every way.
See you next week.
Holding each and all
this Holiest of Weeks in
God's Dear Love,
at 5:34 AM