Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

Jesus learned from his solitude. Dom André Louf points out that “he first acquired and exercised his full stature as a man in the desert.” Significantly, that was the beginning of his public life immediately after his baptism in the Jordan. The other “bookend” of his life, was that Jesus experienced the greatest solitude of all during his last hours—there was no greater “deserted place” than the cross.    

The power of solitude is that it shuts us off from everything and everyone else, and takes us back to our own nothingness. It teaches us how to be ordinary, frail and in need of help. It teaches us our limitations, our insignificance, and releases us from many of our false ideas and illusions, from myths of every kind. Even more solitude turns out to be a privileged place of encounter with God, even as it was for Jesus.

Though we have deliberately come to “a place apart,” we do not seek out solitude in order to find God. Rather, to find God is to find solitude. True solitude is not the absence of people, but the presence of God.  All of our human solitudes are merely relative approaches toward the perfect solitude that is faith.

As Dom André Louf tells us, "Each and every solitude throws us back upon ourselves and God, back upon our extreme poverty and God’s immense love and merciful kindness. In this, the faith in our heart is burrowed out and an unsuspected depth of our being is laid bare."
Meditation by Father Dominic. Photographs by Brother Brian.