Father, may I never cease to reverence
this gift of solitude you have entrusted to me.
In this space of silence and aloneness
I am summoned to bear a great mystery,
and into this mystery to enter more deeply.
From the place of superficial fragmentation
in which I have so often dwelt,
and remain so much even to this day,
you invite me to enter into the desert.
Yet this desert is not a place of aridity,
an austere stripping-away to nothingness,
but a homecoming, a return to the wellspring
of your love and your truth, ever flowing.
In human communion the heart is wounded
with the longing for solitude,
to cherish and hold the mystery within.
Yet in solitude the heart is expanded
to reach out for greater encounter
and more profound, enduring communion.
But community can also become
only brushing of shoulders, without something deeper,
and solitude can become a narrowing
of the heart which allows the fire of love
to slowly begin to fade, giving way,
over time, to ease and irresponsibility,
forgetful of the beauty
which first touched and wounded the heart.
We glimpse the beauty, I think,
in together-aloneness, in solitary intimacy,
when these two realities become one.
We are granted a little taste, in such moments,
of the joy of heaven for which we long.
Standing at the rim of the canyon,
side by side together, breathless,
as the clouds and fog cloak the land before us,
and enfold us, too, within themselves.
They are like the gentle arms of God
enfolding us in his embrace,
sheltering us in his solitude, so that,
together, we may be alone in him,
and, alone, we may be together in him.
Here there is no more aloneness,
for all is penetrated by the presence of the other,
of the one who has been welcomed, completely,
into the inmost recesses of who I am,
and who has, in turn, completely welcomed me.
Yet here there is no suffocation
of others who do not accept or understand,
for whom I am only a name or a face.
No, here there is mutual knowledge, shared love,
for here there is loving contemplation
of the mystery of one another,
and the trusting gift that springs,
spontaneously, from such a loving gaze.
Ah, Father…to only keep my eyes on this,
aflame with the beautiful reality
of sonship, spousehood, and paternity,
which enfolds me and each of us:
this is true integrity, the beauty for which I long.
When I am alone here, in this hermitage,
when I pray, draw, write, rest, and eat,
in every moment, whatever I do,
this reality is surging, like a heartbeat,
deep within everything that there is.
This reality, my God, is nothing but you,
relating to us in your tenderness and love,
and uniting us to one another
in the wonderful way that you have willed.
To remain here drinking
of the Wellspring that ever flows,
carrying the jar of my own heart
and also the hearts of others
to this sacred place.
This is all you ask, my God.
Everything else flows from
and returns to this.
Here is true ecstasy
into the humble truth of each moment.
Here is the exodus
into the depths of the heart,
where I find you embracing me,
and drawing me to embrace others
within your one, all-encompassing embrace.