Summary: If you don’t sharpen a blade from time to time, it gets dull.
Saturday of the 4th Week in Course
Young and in a Desert Place
This prayer from the author of the Letter to the Hebrews fits so well with our psalm and Gospel today that I would like to share the links. The prayer is “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will.” How does our Lord do this? Well, the price is already paid–the blood of the Lamb who is the Shepherd, Jesus our Lord. The equipment is going to vary slightly from person to person, because the equipment is virtue–good habits that help us walk with Christ and attract others to Christ.
But we receive this grace, this virtue, this equipment, in silence. In your discussion this week you shared your experience of silent prayer, perhaps before the Blessed Sacrament or in the quiet of your room. St. Mark tells us in today’s Gospel that Christ’s apostles came back to Him after a mission trip and shared their experiences, but Jesus saw in them an exhaustion, a need to regroup, to breathe the clean air of the spirit. So He said, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” They did go away to what was a deserted place for that purpose, but if they had any quiet time, it must have been on the boat. When they arrived at the retreat, there was a mob waiting for them, needful, pleading, hurt and sick. And so Jesus taught them Himself. The implication is that the apostles did get some quiet time, perhaps by moving on to a spot even more deserted.
We all need that kind of experience from time to time. That’s why we clergy are mandated to have a retreat at least once a year. If you don’t sharpen a blade from time to time, it gets dull. If a preacher doesn’t take silent time to listen to the Master, we lose our edge, we get lost in a million distractions. Every day, at least when you wake up and as you are falling asleep, retreat into your quiet center and commit your inner core being to Our Lord. Call on the saints to help you focus on the most important things–your following of Our Lord and your love for and kindness to your brothers and sisters. And in silence–which is the Lord’s preferred communication tool–you will hear the Word both comforting and challenging: “Come, follow me.”