Daily Reading for June 26
Solitude is one of the defining features of the wilderness. When one is alone with God two distinct opportunities emerge. In the first place, one can be more attentive to the work of the Holy Spirit inside when freed a while from competing, outside concerns. Oftentimes, God chooses to be subtle, and his subtle activity can go unnoticed if one’s world is full of jabbering televisions or idle chatter. In solitude one comes to know God as an engaging, and often witty, companion on the day’s journey rather than as an occasionally-glimpsed, stern presence. In this way, solitude often has a unique sweetness and beauty.
As one passes through the wilderness on the way back to God, one discovers a new depth and efficaciousness at prayer. Previously one might have thought that prayer consisted in saying things to God and that it trafficked only in words and mental images. In the desert the words and images fall away, and one is left with a simple awareness of God’s presence. The subtle presence of God is as palpable as that of a friend or lover, and yet one does not see God. Rather, it is as though for a moment in the corner of one’s eye one glimpses God passing. One feels caught up in God’s presence and transformed by it.
From From Image to Likeness: The Christian Journey into God by William A. Simpson (Continuum, 1997).