An Hour A Day in Solitude

Camelback Mountain Photo Credit:

In the morning, long before dawn, He got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Mark 1:35

Jesus practiced the discipline of solitude. Jesus’ ministry sprung from that lonely place where he went to pray, early in the morning, long before dawn.

In the center of breathless activities we hear:

  • restful breathing
  • quiet stillness
  • withdrawal
  • contemplation
  • solitude

In solitude we get rid of the scaffolding: no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no texting, twittering, facebooking, no meetings, no music to entertain, no books to distract. We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with him and him alone. When Henri Nouwen asked Mother Teresa of Calcutta for a word of wisdom, she told Nouwen, “spend an hour a day in solitude with the Lord and never do anything you know is wrong and you will be all right.”

Camelback Mountain is my lonely place. Where is your lonely place?



Filed under Beaches, Canyons, Deserts, Mountains and Monasteries, Solitude

5 responses to “An Hour A Day in Solitude

  1. s-p

    Great post. I prefer the days that I work alone (most days lately). I don’t have a radio, Blackberry, nor i-Pod. Solitude is golden.

  2. Richard A Downing

    When I was an Anglican I volunteered to open the church (built 1878) – it’s a 100 yards away. No one ever goes there during the week, and certainly never before 10am.
    I still open it, even after becoming Orthodoxy. I have a blessing to say my rule there, and I do it every day at about 7am. The Anglican clergy and wardens are aware, and happy.
    What is good is the vast empty unadorned internal space which has marvellous echoes. Then you step outside and see the lake and mountains.

    Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Thy Glory over all the earth.


  3. Dn. Michael

    Back in Houston, I can remember showing up early for Matins on Sundays to get the chanter’s stand ready. The priest would be inside quietly doing proskomidi, and I would just sit there by the kliros in the quiet church. I would have about 20 minutes before the service started, and I found those few quiet moments full of God’s presence.

    Around the seminary at campus, it’s hard to find quiet places – lots of kids, lots of students, lots of work and responsibility. The only exception is in the evening; I tend to say my rule right before bed, relatively late, when the rest of the family has gone to sleep. That’s my lonely place.

    When I have the time, I sometimes walk down the street; there is an old, beautiful Catholic church there, and it’s usually empty during the day, so when needed, I sometimes take a walk, and just sit in there for a few moments.

    Then there are the monasteries, but that’s something for a weekend…

  4. Joan Litman

    Before much of the city is awake, I walk out to a small patch of land which juts out into the mouth of the Hudson River and into New York Harbor. The only sound is that of small waves splashing against the rocks. If I glance up and slightly to the right, Ellis Island still sleeps; as a mother who guards the secrets of her children who have have long since moved away. To the left, lower Manhattan tall and silent. This morning a man scolds his dogs in a language I do not recognize.

    All around me…the water…..the water…. God’s creation always beckons us back to him.

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