In the Gospel, there is a passage which shows how Jesus wanted us to be persons who dedicate some time to be oneself, away from our works and all other distractions. The apostles, after their mission when they returned, Jesus said to them; “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” (Mk6:31). The evangelist adds by saying, “For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. Therefore, they went a deserted place by themselves.”
To today’s young people of digital age in which we are living, Jesus would tell us take some time to “go off line.” In our “on line” culture, there are so many distractions, and activism. Every moment we are bombarded with an over load of information, pictures, videos, etc. This excessive information, paradoxically often does not make us more informed or learned, instead it distracts us and it hinders our personal growth and relationships.
We may be able to get all the information on any subject from the internet. But the internet will never be able to give answers to the fundamental questions like: Who Am I, what is the purpose of my life? etc. These are questions pertaining to our very being and God. To get answers to these questions we need to be persons who spend time in personal reflection, prayer and interior silence.
On the importance of personal reflection and silence, Aristotle said, “an un-reflected life is not worth living.”
St. Augustine said; “God’s remoteness is equivalent to the remoteness from oneself.”
In the life of Jesus, we find that often he withdrew to be himself in solitude to pray to his father to discern his will and then came down to the people to carry out the will of his father. The withdrawal to be oneself in silence and prayer is not running away from the world or shirking our responsibilities.
On the other hand, we withdraw so as to go back with renewed energy and creativity. We withdraw, so that we can return to the world and to the people, like Moses descended from the mountain after meeting the Lord or like apostles Peter, John and James descended after meeting the transfigured Lord. In the words of St. Vincent; “it is to be Carthusians at home and apostles at work.”
About the Author:
Fr. Binoy Puthusery, C.M. is a Vincentian priest belonging to the Southern Indian Province. He was ordained as priest on December 27, 2008 and soon after served as an assistant parish priest in Tanzania. In 2011, after two years of ministry, he was appointed as Spiritual Director to the Vincentian Sisters of Mercy, Mbinga Tanzania, where he still is today.
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