There is a line in the Gospel from today’s Mass (Friday after Epiphany) that I found interesting. Please pay particular attention to the part I italicized:
The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments, but he would withdraw to deserted places to pray.
Jesus had just healed a man of his leprosy, and news of this spread all about. “Great crowds assembled”, and this probably pressed Him in His daily life. Not that He minded much, and He was doing His Father’s will, but nevertheless He was seriously occupied.
“He would withdraw to deserted places to pray.” Why deserted places is obvious, He needed to be alone, or with His disciples. But He still occupied His time, He didn’t get away from the crowds to just do nothing. He prayed.
Perhaps prayer gave Him the strength or focus needed to cope with the multitudes that came to Him to learn and be healed. Or maybe He was just creating an example for us. Just as He needn’t have been born a baby of a woman, but chose to do so anyway to teach us the value of humility, He chose to pray when it doesn’t seem that He would need to do that. Why would God be praying?
Praying in deserted places frees you from distractions and assists in your growing closer to God. Now it doesn’t mean that you literally escape to a desert and engage in prayer, it could mean that you just make time for prayer. Create a “desert” in your day, when nothing from the outside world can enter and thrive. The outside world hates prayer. It thinks it a strange waste of time. It knows that when a person is in solitude, he or she may get reflective and ponder too much upon the follies and fallacies of the world. People who pay too much attention to God have little regard for the world’s silliness.
Go to a deserted place. Perhaps it is outside. A forest or a beach. Or just an interior place created within yourself that is shielded from the world. The place where you exist.
Go to your deserted place and pray. You may find that you can face the multitudes more easily.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"