It is amazing, Father, that even before
encountering the readings of the day,
I was reflecting on the mystery of prayer
and the particular nature of my vocation.
I know that it is a union,
—a binding together in harmony—of two movements:
of silence and solitude for you, Lord,
and of closeness to others in loving compassion…
Knowing this I reflected on the manner of prayer
in which I find myself daily immersed,
and I found that it is, in a way, this:
Resting within the embrace of your compassion.

In immersing myself, Jesus, into your Heart,
I come to repose within your mystery,
in the tenderness of your embrace.
And in this restfulness I share, in grace,
in the experience of your own Heart
in its love for the Father and for every person.
And without leaving this rest,
my heart opens, within yours,
to carry, in aching compassion and love,
the pain, the hope, the joy of others.
Yes, this mystery of prayer is both,
it is both rest and compassion together,
the joy of repose and the pain of longing.
It is resting, Jesus, in the embrace of your compassion.

This is a great mystery, as the Gospel passage shows.
You call us away to a lonely, deserted place, to rest,
but, precisely in this withdrawal, you discover people anew,
and your Heart, so tender and merciful, is deeply moved.
Your inmost being churns in compassion for them,
who are like sheep without a shepherd,
and you open yourself to welcome them,
teaching, healing, and feeding.

And yet once you have welcomed them
in this active hospitality and loving service,
you retire to pray for an extended period,
deep into the night—indeed, almost its whole length.
And in the night, in its mysterious stillness,
in its ineffable darkness, what are you doing?

Ah, dear Jesus, it is two things simultaneously
that you are binding together in harmony
within the space of your own compassionate Heart:
you are reposing, in silence and solitude,
within the bosom of your loving Father.
You are resting in the truth of your identity
as his beloved Son, eternally cherished,
and rejoicing in the beauty of him whom,
for all eternity, you love as he loves you.
And yet in this same repose you carry,
in the aching sensitivity of your vulnerable Heart,
the longing, the pain, the hope, the sorrow
of this broken but beautiful world,
of each person whom you love so deeply.

In the space of your Heart, Jesus,
you bear these two mysteries,
like two threads which, because of sin,
have been torn apart.
And you knit them back together,
Lord, in the sinews of your Heart.