Fr. Todd 2/12/2023
Happy World Marriage Day to all couples! Loving one another is a daily decision. I pray you grow more in love with the Church so we may renew the Body of Christ.
I am returning from my retreat this weekend. I was at the guest house of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery in the desert of Arizona. That name has been a source of meditation leading up to this retreat and I am sure after. Solitude can tend to have a negative connotation in our culture. But not in this case. The point is not simply of being alone, but of being alone with God. There are many Scriptures that detail Jesus’ prayer life:
Luke 5:16: “Yet he frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray”
Mark 1:35: “Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed”
Luke 6:12: “In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God”
While this retreat is a special time to spend in prayer, it has been a great reminder that all of us should have that “deserted place” we can go to pray. What is my prayer place at home or in the Church? I have my spot I like going to at both Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake, and I know my favorite spot in the rectory. What is your deserted place, a place where you are alone with Him?
I know this can be particularly challenging for our families with young kids and will require some ingenuity. Sometimes it is just the fact that your deserted place will include a few little ones coming and going, but they know it is your prayer place. That in and of itself is a great gift to give your children—that they know Mom and Dad pray and even have a special place they go to. I know of couples who intentionally carve out some time for each other so they each can have some private prayer time—I will take this 15-20 minute shift with the kids so you can have some time.
I think of my Uncle Fr. Bill’s “deserted place” when he came out to my family’s farm on his day off. There was always a herd of us running around him when he came over and helped out with whatever project was happening. But every day he came over he would take some time to pray his Breviary (the daily prayers all priests and religious pray). His “deserted place” was a five-gallon bucket he took over by the shed so he could sit in the cover. We knew when he was praying we needed to leave him alone. That example was an important piece of my own call to the priesthood. I had an idea of what prayer looked like.
In the end we can be and should be pretty creative as to what that prayer time and place looks like. But we need to fight for it. This is what sustains us; it is the core of our relationship with God. Plus, you never know who is watching and will be shown the way by your example!
By way of reminder: We will have Theology on the Tap this Friday at the Hillsdale Brewing Company from 6:30-8:00pm. Fr. Ginu and I will be joining Fr. David Reamsnyder. These evenings are always a great grace.