“It is solitude and solitude alone that opens the possibility of a radical relationship to God that can withstand all external events up to and beyond death. …In solitude, we confront our own soul with its obscure forces and conflicts that escape our attention when we are interacting with others. Thus, ‘Solitude is a terrible trial, for it serves to crack open and burst apart the shell of our superficial securities. It opens out to us the unknown abyss that we all carry within us . . . [and] discloses the fact that these abysses are haunted.’ We can only survive solitude if we cling to Christ there. And yet what we find of him in that solitude enables us to return to society as free persons.” Dallas Willard, quoting Louis Bouyer
“Solitude, Sabbath, and Silence: Resting in the presence of God, without work or speech, so one becomes more aware of the companionship, grace, and love of God than one has been of the companionship, demands, and duties associated with other people. … Contemplative practices … are exercised more or less in solitude, making the first cluster [solitude, Sabbath and silence] in many ways the key to the rest.” Brian Mclaren
“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” Genesis 32:24
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you able to be alone with God for an extended period of time? Does it seem difficult to do that? If so, can you explain why?
- Dallas Willard stresses the utmost importance of solitude. If you don’t make a habit of time spent alone with God, he would say, you have to practice something else that has the same benefits. Can you think of another practice that confronts your own soul “with it’s obscure forces and conflicts that escape your attention when you are interacting with others?” that bursts apart “the shell of your superficial securities?” that forces you to “cling to Christ?”
- Do you have anyone with whom to share your spiritual journey? to encourage you in something like the practice of solitude?
Abba, I want you to be more real to me that anyone else in my life. I don’t want a superficial faith. Help me protect my solitude. Meet with me there.
For More: The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers by Louis Bouyer
The “Daily Riches” from RicherByFar are for your encouragement as you seek after God, and as he seeks after you. My goal is to give you something of uncommon value each day in 400 words or less. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it with others. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)