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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Prayerful Solitude

A few days ago, Fr. Charles wrote a post about sitting in the dark in a church praying vespers, and quoted a passage from Thomas Merton.

I've been turning this over in my mind for the last few days, for, I, too, have have some profound moments alone with God in darkened churches.

I've written before of my work in college, locking up in the wee hours, and entering the little campus chapel. That chapel was so warm and inviting (especially on those frigid winter nights!) that I always wanted to pause, and I wasn't practicing my faith at the time, but recognize, in hindsight, the consolations of grace in those moments, drawing me into the presence of Christ, right there in the silent intimacy of the chapel.

As an adult, those moments have not ceased, and I have had to flee even the Adoration chapel and head for the Church to pass time with Christ hidden in the tabernacle. It didn't matter to me that the Blessed Sacrament was not exposed, for He is still just as present, just as available...just as loving. There, away from the eyes of others, there have been times where I literally would sit at His feet, somtimes lying face -down in prayer, something I can't seem to do when there are other people around. There is freedom in solitude.

Even now, at work, I often go into the church instead of the Adoration Chapel, choosing to pray the Divine Office there, alone, rather than in the company of others. The darkness seems to, in a way, foster prayer and aid me in focusing on the words, the intentions, and the reality of the participation of the entire Church as I quietly utter the psalms.

You may want to go to Father's post and read what he has to say...he and Thomas Merton express it better than I ever could.


Karinann said...

Thanks to you I have been following Fr. Charles' blog for a few days now. As I read this post of his the other day, I had the same thought as you expressed here- there are times I'd rather be sitting in the dark empty church rather than the crowded Adoration chapel. Thanks for directing us toward Fr. Charles' site, I've enjoyed his posts.
Prayers for your vocation!

Julia said...

I also prefer to pray by myself. Prayer is very personal, very intimate, and I think it's important for us to be able to pray privately in the ways in which we are moved to pray. It is, after all, time with our most beloved Lord. An individual's relationship with Christ can only form when there is time spent quietly with Him.

When looking at religious communities, I pay special attention to whether there are times for private and individual prayer in addition to prayer with the community.

Mark said...

Adoro, thanks for drawing attention to Fr Charles's wonderful blog.