“Be still in solitude and you will find the Lord in yourself” - Teresa of Ávila
Jesus calls us from solitude to solitude because the fear of being alone terrifies us.
“Loneliness is when you are missing each other. Solitude is when you are finding yourself.” - Osho
Our fear of being alone drives us into the noise of the crowds.
Loneliness is an inner emptiness. Solitude is an inner realization.
Solitude is not a place, but a state of mind and heart.
Jesus lived in “loneliness in his heart”:
1) He began his ministry by spending 40 days and 40 nights alone in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11);
2) Before choosing the twelve, he spent the whole night alone on the desert mountain (Luke 6:12);
3) When he received the news of the death of John the Baptist he “departed from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself” (Matthew 14:13);
4) After the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, Jesus commanded the disciples to leave; then he sent the crowds away and “went up into the mountain to pray alone…” (Matthew 14:23);
5) After a long night's work, “When he got up early in the morning, he went out and went into a deserted place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35);
6) When the Twelve returned from a preaching and healing mission, Jesus instructed them: “Come and rest awhile apart…” (Mark 6:31);
7) After healing a leper, Jesus “withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16);
8) With three disciples he sought the silence of a lonely mountain as a stage for the transfiguration (Matthew 17:19);
9) As he prepared himself for his most sublime and holiest work. Jesus sought solitude from the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46)
If we want to be with others in a meaningful way, we must seek the silence that recreates solitude. If we want to be alone in safety, we must seek the company and responsibility of others.
If we want to live in obedience, we must cultivate both.
Solitude and Silence
Read James 3:1-12
Without silence there is no solitude.
Under the discipline of silence and solitude we learn when to speak and when to bridle our tongue. (James 3:1-12)
“Like apples of gold in platters of silver, so is the word spoken in due season” (Proverbs 25:11)
We rely too much on words to maneuver and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will do it; but we will never let him take over until we trust him. Silence is closely related to trust.
The tongue is a thermometer; it tells us what our spiritual temperature is. It is also a thermostat; controls our spiritual temperature.
Only when we have learned to be truly silent will we be able to speak the necessary word at the right time.
Steps to Solitude
Let’s take a look at some steps to live solitude:
1) Take advantage of the “small solitudes” that fill our daily lives.
2) Find a new source of joy and meaning in the small stretches of commuting in your daily life (home - school, school - home, home - church, etc…)
3) Before going to bed, taste the silent night outside.
4) Find a quiet place in the house to be in silence and solitude (this one can be difficult huh)
5) Find places outside the house, a park, a beach, seaside, etc…
6) Notice your sense of fear that people will misunderstand why you are doing this. Try to let God be your justifier.
7) Tends to stay silent for some periods.
8) Set realistic goals for your life at this stage you are going through. Think of small steps that will shape your future. (It would be interesting to keep a record…)
9) The discipline of study can be an important door to solitude.
Use creativity and common sense to have a moment of silence in your daily life.
The fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for others. A new freedom arises to be with people. There is a new attention to your needs, a new responsibility for your hurts.
“Lord, promote in our daily lives moments when in solitude and in silence I can truly find you and find myself. May there be a meeting of the two of us always in these moments. Amen.”
Category: Spiritual Disciplines
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