After being sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of God, Jesus reconvenes with the disciples. He allows them to tell Him all that they did with God’s help. At that time He invites them to go off to a deserted place to reflect. Action is always followed by contemplation. So often in our rapid paced society we forget to reflect, to go off to the cathedral of silence and reflect on everything that has happened. Yet, to fully embrace the depth of what God is doing in the world, to find wisdom in the experiences of our lives, what we need is that quiet time. While I realize it is unrealistic to drive to a monastery or convent to do that, we are asked to find that time somehow and somewhere.
For me, there are two places where I reflect quite often. One is out on the golf course. I try to get the first tee time of the morning and golf by myself. No conversation, just me, God and a little white ball that has a mind of its own, taking me to places on the course I have not often seen before. I can settle into deep prayer and reflection while I walk, either carrying my clubs or pushing them in a cart. I rarely ever ride. The pace of just walking in the quiet allows me to reconnect with all that has been taking place, from conversations to commitments; all are processed within the round. The other place is while I run. No head phones for me. I just take the time to reflect and listen to the inner working of God as I run /walk. It is not about how fast I run, it is about how far God takes me. Putting myself in those two places every week allows me to be free of conversation and just listen. It allows me to see the fingerprint of God in my life and in the life of the people of our great parish.
Families renew themselves when they go on vacation. The change in the subtle routine of life lifts them up to see things with a new perspective. Many workers on their commute to the city or work find the time to reflect. There is no one place, but it is to be free of distraction. It is to be free of cell phones and interruptions. When we can do this on a regular basis, our lives can begin the journey of integration. To be integrated one must take the wisdom of the experiences we have and connect with the lessons they have taught us. Our world needs that balance; contemplation and action; action and contemplation. This healthy spiritual cycle is what allows us to know that God has never abandoned us.
May this summer find us with the time to realize how great is our God!
Rev. John J. Ouper