For Sunday, August 13th, 2023
After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone. Meanwhile the boat, already a few miles offshore, was being tossed about by the waves, for the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Jesus was seeking silence and solitude for prayer after he heard about John the Baptist’s death (see Matthew 13:13). He and his apostles crossed the Sea of Galilee to a deserted place, but the crowds raced around the sea, and they were waiting to hear him preach. Although he was seeking solitude, he was moved with pity and preached to them. When the crowds dispersed, Jesus sent his apostles ahead, and “he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”
When Jesus prays to the Father, he heeds his own advice. He does not make a spectacle on the streets or in the synagogues. He seeks out solitude, and his Father hears him in secret (see Matthew 6:6)
In The Power of Silence, Cardinal Robert Sarah explains the importance of silence in our lives today. He says:
If man seeks God and wants to find him, if he desires a life of the most intimate union with him, silence is the most direct path and the surest means of attaining it. Silence is of capital importance because it enables the Church to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, imitating his thirty silent years in Nazareth, his forty days and forty nights of fasting, and intimate dialogue with the Father in the solitude and silence of the desert. (pp. 219-20)
The power of silence is rooted in the imitation of Christ. Jesus taught us to pray silently and frequently demonstrated the importance of silent prayer.
In the same book, Cardinal Sarah warns that silence can become a kind of idolatry if we seek silence as a goal in itself: “We do not seek silence for its own sake, as though it were our goal. We seek silence because we seek God. And we will find it if we are silent in the very depths of our heart” (p. 193). We must not enjoy silence as a final end, but we must use it as a means of drawing closer to the Father in heaven.
In the modern world, we are constantly surrounded by noise. Our phones are always sounding notifications, and even when they are not notifying us of anything, we are continuously checking them. The drive to work is filled with noise from the radio or some podcast or audiobook to which we listen. Many men walk around with AirPods in their ears, oblivious to the world around them. It is so hard to find time to listen to God silently. Even the calls to silent prayer in the Mass are frequently omitted. Like a storm at sea, the noise of the modern world threatens to overtake us.
As Exodus men, we have committed to daily silent prayer. This is a time to turn off the interior and exterior distractions that threaten to eliminate the time we have set aside to listen to God.
Today, honor your commitment to silent prayer. Imitate Jesus and go to a deserted place to sit silently, drawing closer to your Father in heaven.
Is it time for your Exodus? Learn more here.