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SILENT, CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Saturday, 4th Week of the Year, February 07, 2009
Heb 13:15-17,20-21; Ps 22; Mk 6:30-34


"Come away by yourselves to a desert place, and rest a while. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desert place by themselves" (Mk 6:31-32).


We see in the Gospels that Jesus frequently withdrew alone to the desert or to a mountain to pray (Mk 6:46; Lk 6:12). Before calling the twelve apostles, "he went out into the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve" (Lk 6:12-13). Before doing something as important as this, he withdrew alone to pray, and we see that "all night he continued in prayer to God" (Lk 6:12). This is important. We can learn something important from this. It is the need which Jesus had for prayer and for spending time in prayer, especially at night, or "in the morning, a great while before day" (Mk 1:35), in "a desert place" (Mk 1:35) or on a mountain (Lk 6:12).


And we see today that he taught his apostles to do the same, saying to them, "Come away by yourselve to a desert place, and rest a while... And they went away in the boat to a desert place by themselves" (Mk 6:31,32). We thus learn that we also have the same need to withdraw alone to a desert place or to a mountain to pass the night, or part of the night, in silent, contemplative prayer.


Rising, therefore, "in the morning, a great while before day" (Mk 1:35) and going to "a desert place" to pray, our relationship with God is restored and grows. We enter into communion with him in love and light. At this time, we rest in Jesus Christ, who justifies us, and clothes us with his own righteousness as with a splendid robe of light (Is 61:10). It is in Jesus Christ that we have the forgiveness of our sins and imperfections, the removal of our guilt and depression, and the restoration of God's peace in our hearts. In him we find a peace which the world cannot give (Jn 14:27), and which only comes to us when we believe in him, invoke the merits of his death for us on the cross, and then walk in the new light of his resurrection which will shine within us. We benefit from all this in silent, contemplative prayer, especially "in the morning, a great while before day" (Mk 1:35).


In this prayer, Christ will often fill us with his light, shining in our heart (2 Cor 4:6), and we will be able to contemplate his glory and be transformed "from glory to glory" in his image (2 Cor 3:18). Thus we will know his peace, which is not of this world (Jn 14:27), and will deepen our relationship of love with Christ; and from this relationship, we will draw new strength to preach Christ with power and conviction, and attract many, as Jesus did today, to the point that "many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat" (Mk 6:31).


 


 

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