By Kelly Wahlquist
One of the reasons WINE began and continues to flourish is because WINE recognizes that women are too busy to “reinvent the wheel!” As such, WINE relies on the wheels that are already rolling, such as tried, trusted, and true books, bible studies, retreat templates, inspiring speakers, etc.
It’s funny how God loves to use irony in my life. This past month, each time I thought about what I would write for my post today, I was interrupted by a phone call, an email, a text message, a Facebook messenger notification, a deadline, a child, a husband, a dog… I think you get the picture. I wanted to yell, “Calgon, take me away!” (I realize I just dated myself with that reference.) I needed to go away to a quiet place and write. And then, I got an email that said exactly what I needed to hear! And get this, it was something I wrote months ago for a Gospel reflection on CatholicMom.com. Since it was what I needed to hear, I thought perhaps it might be what you need to hear too.
“And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.”
In 2012, my friend and co-leader for the “Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus and Mary Pilgrimage through the Holy Land” took our spiritual director, his assistant, and me to “a lonely place to rest a while” … and pray. The place was indeed lonely. It was a cave hidden in the side of a hill that looked out over the Sea of Galilee. As we sat in this secluded cavern and opened our Bibles, Thomas explained that it was in this “lonely place,” or in Greek, Eremos Topos, where Jesus came to embrace solitude and to pray.
Today’s reading is anything but an embrace of solitude.
In Mark 6:30-34, we are in the midst of a busy scene. The apostles are returning to Jesus eager to share with him all that they had done and taught. Many were coming and going, so busy that they didn’t even have time for lunch; and others, seeing Jesus and his disciples leaving by boat were running from all towns trying to beat them to their destination. The scene is high paced, and action packed. At first glance, all this action is good: teaching the Gospel, proclaiming the Good News, running to where you know you will encounter the Lord. One might even say it represents the active spiritual life. But notice what Jesus asks in the midst of all this commotion. He asks us to come away, by ourselves, to a lonely place, and to rest. He is asking us to enter deeper into our contemplative spiritual lives—to find our Eremos Topos.
We don’t need a cave between Capernaum and Magdala to enter into this retreat of the soul. Today we have something better. We have His Real Presence. In Adoration, we can retreat to a lonely place — lonely in the sense that all distractions are gone, and our entire focus is on Jesus. It is here where we can truly “rest a while.”
Where is your Eremos Topos? Where do you find the quiet solitude that draws you deeper into your prayer? Can you fit it into your busy schedule to go there this week and rest a while?
About the author:
Kelly Wahlquist is a wife, mother of three, inspiring Catholic author and speaker residing in Minnesota. She is the founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, Assistant Director for the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute, and contributing writer for Catholicmom.com. Her book Created to Relate: God’s Design for Peace & Joy encourages and inspires women to live fully their beautiful God-given gifts for building relationships. She is the creator and editor of Walk in Her Sandals: Experiencing Christ’s Passion through the Eyes of Women. Kelly travels the country speaking to all on topics that inspire us to live the New Evangelization, but has a special love for speaking at Catholic women’s events.
Photo courtesy of Kelly Wahlquist. Used with permission. All rights reserved.