Today’s Gospel: Mark: 6:30-34
“And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.”
In 2012, my friend and co-leader for the “Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus and Mary Pilgrimage through the Holy Land” took our spiritual director, his assistant and me to “a lonely place to rest a while” … and pray. The place was indeed lonely. It was a cave hidden in the side of a hill that looked out over the Sea of Galilee. As we sat in this secluded cavern and opened our Bibles, Thomas explained that it was in this “lonely place,” or in Greek, Eremos Topos, where Jesus came to embrace solitude and to pray.
Today’s reading is anything but an embrace of solitude. Today’s reading is busy. The apostles are returning to Jesus eager to share with him all that they had done and taught. Many were coming and going, so busy that the didn’t even have time for lunch; and others, seeing Jesus and his disciples leaving by boat were running from all towns trying to beat them to their destination. The scene is high paced, and action packed. At first glance, all this action is good: teaching the Gospel, proclaiming the Good News, running to where you know you will encounter the Lord. One might even say it represents the active spiritual life. But notice what Jesus asks in the midst of all this commotion. He askes us to come away, by ourselves, to a lonely place, and to rest. He is asking us to enter deeper into our contemplative spiritual lives—to find our Eremos Topos.
We don’t need a cave between Capernaum and Magdala to enter into this retreat of the soul. Today we have something better. We have His Real Presence. In Adoration, we can retreat to a lonely place — lonely in the sense that all distractions are gone, and our entire focus is on Jesus. It is here where we can truly “rest a while.”
Where is your Eremos Topos? Where do you find the quiet solitude that draws you deeper into your prayer? Can you fit it into your busy schedule to go there this week and rest a while?
Lord, send your Spirit to help me enter into those quiet moments in my heart that bring me ever closer to you.
Copyright 2018 Kelly Wahlquist
Kelly Wahlquist is a dynamic and inspiring Catholic speaker whose gift of weaving personal stories and Scripture together with practical advice allows her audience to enter more fully into what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have called us into — to be witnesses of our faith and part of the New Evangelization. Kelly travels the country speaking to all on various topics that inspire us to live the New Evangelization, but has a special love for speaking at Catholic women’s conferences. She resides in Minnesota with her husband, Andy, and their three children, and is very active in their parish, Holy Name of Jesus.
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