February 2006

What a full day Jesus had that Saturday in the city of Capernaum! He spoke in the synagogue and he astonished everyone with his teaching. He freed a man from an unclean spirit. After leaving the synagogue he went to Simon and Andrew’s house where he healed Simon’s mother-in-law. Then in the evening after sunset, all the sick and the possessed were brought to him and he healed many of those afflicted with various illnesses and expelled many demons (see Mk 1:21-24).
After having spent a whole day and night in such intense activities, Jesus got up while it was still dark and left the house before daybreak.

«…he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed»

He yearned for the life of heaven. He had come from there to reveal the love of God to us, to open up the way to heaven for us, to share in every aspect of our lives. He had journeyed along the roads of Palestine to teach the crowds, to cure diseases and illnesses of every kind, and to form his disciples.
But the life-giving power that flowed like “rivers of living water from within him” (Jn 7:37-38), came from his constant relationship with the Father. He and the Father know each other and love each other; they are in each other, for they are one (see Jn 10:15,30,38).
The Father is “Abba,” which means “daddy,” the dad he could turn to with infinite trust and boundless love.

«…he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed»

Since the Son of God came on earth for us, he was not content to be the only one to enjoy this privileged relationship in prayer. By dying for us and redeeming us, he made us sons and daughters of God, his brothers and sisters.
Therefore we too can use his divine invocation, “Abba, Father,” with all that comes with it: certainty of his protection, security, blind trust in his love, divine consolation, strength and ardor – the ardor that is born in a heart that is sure that it is loved.
Once we have entered into the silence of the “inner room” (Mt 6:6), the inner space of our soul, we can then converse with him, adore him, declare our love for him, thank him, ask him to forgive us, entrust to him all our needs and humanity’s too, as well as our dreams and hopes. What can’t we say to someone we know loves us immensely and who can do anything?

We can also speak with the Word, with Jesus. Above all, we can heed his voice and allow him to repeat his words to us: “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mk 6:50), “I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20). He also invites us with words such as: “Come, follow me” (Mt 19:21), “I say to you, [forgive] not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Mt 18:22), “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Mt 7:12).
These conversations can be extended, or they can be brief and frequent moments throughout the day, almost like a glance of love in his direction, whispering to him for example: “You are my only good” (see Ps 16:2), “This act of mine is for you.”
We cannot do without prayer. We cannot live without breathing, and praying is the breathing of the soul, the expressing of our love for God.
After such moments of recollection with him, moments of communion and love, we will come away refreshed and ready to face our daily lives with new strength and confidence. It will also help us build a more authentic relationship with others and with the world.

«…he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed»

“If we do not close the shutters of our soul by recollecting ourselves, you, Lord, would not be able to keep company with us as your love sometimes would want to. But once we have set everything else aside in order to recollect ourselves in you, we would never want to turn back, for so sweet to the soul is union with You and so fleeting all the rest.
“Those who sincerely love you often feel you, Lord, in the silence of their rooms, in the depths of their hearts, and this sensation moves their souls each time as if they were touched to the core. And they thank you for being so close to them, for being everything for them, for being the one who gives meaning to their living and their dying.
“They thank you, but often they do not know how, or what to say. They only know that you love them and that they love you, and that there is no sweeter thing on this earth that comes even close to this feeling. What they feel in their soul when you appear is Heaven, and they say: ‘If Heaven is like this, oh, how beautiful it will be!’
“They thank you, Lord, for their entire lives, for having brought them up to this point. And even if shadows still exist on the outside that could darken their paradise here on earth, when you manifest yourself all these other things seem remote and distant: they no longer exist.
“You exist.
“That is how it is.”


Chiara Lubich



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