What gets you out of bed before dawn?
We push ourselves beyond our superficial comforts for things that we value. Some people seem to focus on fun or competition and stay up late gaming. Some value their health or appearance, so they push themselves to get up early and exercise. Some prioritize learning and burn the midnight oil to read or study. Some people see their duty to family or friends as a value, so they push themselves beyond their need for rest or recreation to serve their needs. In each of these scenarios, a different value drives a person to stretch themselves.
What drives you?
What drives Jesus?
“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”
We are all busy, and prayer can seem like “one more thing” that we can’t find time to do. Can we be as busy as Jesus was? He had just taught in the synagogue, left (maybe hoping for some rest) and healed Simon’s mother-in-law, and found himself faced with many people in need – some ill, some possessed, no doubt some who just wanted a word of encouragement. This began after sunset, so it seems he did not get a full night’s sleep.
And yet, he rose before the sun to seek out some silence and solitude. Why?
Jesus is always driven by the same thing: the Father. He does the will of the Father (Jn 6:38). He says what the Father tells him to say (Jn 12:49). He does the works he sees the Father doing (Jn 5:17-19, 14:10). He needs to be in communication with the Father, in solitude, to know the Father’s will and to do it perfectly (Matt 14:23, 26:36; Mk 1:35, 6:46; Lk 3:21, 5:16, 9:18, 11:1) .
Surely, his whole life was prayer, because he was always seeking to please the Father. And yet it is recorded for us in the very Gospels that Jesus went away from the work in order to pray. It’s stunning, isn’t it? The Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Word Incarnate, as man, must seek out actual times of solitude to PRAY, to be in union with the Father, to listen to the Voice of God.
When do you pray? Before dawn? At mealtimes? When you can? Can you never?
Does seeking the loving Face of the Father drive us to set aside times of prayer each day? Each year, I resolve to be more faithful to my daily prayer, and this year is no different! How well will I keep this resolution this year? How about you? No matter how well you are able to walk with Jesus and spend time with him each day, it seems certain that this world would benefit from an even greater commitment to prayer in 2021.
May God bless you abundantly.
Kathryn Mulderink, MA, is married to Robert, Station Manager for Holy Family Radio. Together they have seven children (including newly ordained Father Rob and seminarian Luke ;-), and two grandchildren. She is a Secular Discalced Carmelite and has published five books and many articles. Over the last 25 years, she has worked as a teacher, headmistress, catechist, Pastoral Associate, and DRE. Currently, she serves the Church as a writer and voice talent for Catholic Radio, by publishing and speaking, and by collaborating with the diocesan Office of Catechesis, various parishes, and other ministries to lead others to encounter Christ and engage their faith. Her website is https://www.kathryntherese.com/.
Feature Image Credit: Timothy Eberly, https://unsplash.com/photos/47A2MPzrSi4