By John Wood
Do you have a quiet place? A place where you can be at peace, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
All too often the pressures of work and caring for the needs of family and friends seem to consume all our time leaving little or no time for our hobbies and the social activities we enjoy. For many, time in a quiet place at peace may seem a waste of time.
It’s not, it’s when we can experience the greatest joy. An awareness of the presence of God in our lives. When we can talk to God and God will talk to us.
God is always with us but in the business of our daily lives we forget this. We think we are alone when we’re not. This understanding of the constant presence of God in our lives is of paramount importance. Pope Francis emphasises this in ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ when he states: On the lips of the catechist the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”
God calls us to a quiet place where he can speak to us in our hearts. Sometimes in scripture the call is to a wilderness or to a high place but the significant call is to a place where we are with God alone. In the prophet Hosea our Lord says: “I will lead the noble soul into a wilderness and there I will speak into her heart” (Hosea 2:14). This is the origin of Newman’s motto “Cor Ad Cor Loquitur” (heart speaks to heart). Saint Mark, speaking about Jesus writes: “In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Using Jesus as our example, we see that in spite of huge demands, he sought out times alone with God.
I urge you to find your quiet place. If you haven’t much space it could just be a chair when you are by yourself or others are asleep, in the bathroom or by your bed. God may choose to speak to you in bed when you don’t expect it. This is your “song in the night”. Sitting, standing or kneeling, however you feel most at peace. I assure you, God is waiting for you and he loves you. Steady your breathing, relax your muscles and let the cares of the world drip off you like water falling from your fingertips in the shower. Relax and just bathe in the love of God.
Just talk to God as you would to your Mum or Dad, your brothers and sisters or your children. Thank God for loving you and tell God that you love him. Do this in addition to the prayers of the church that you already use.
It is not easy and your efforts may seem unrewarded, but if you persevere God will lead you by the hand to joys beyond your imagination.
God calls people in many ways and I hope I haven’t offended fellow disciples who are already conscious of the living presence of God with them as they go about their daily lives. For those who have fallen away from daily prayer or who feel their prayer life has become lukewarm I hope this is of some help.
Speak to God in your quiet place, put your trust in God. God will never let you down.