I am struck anew with the Old Testament story of Joseph whose brothers hate him because he is a “dreamer.” While they are talked out of killing him, they sell him to nomadic tribesmen and conspire to tell their father Jacob that Joseph has been killed by animals. From this reading, we learn only that Joseph has survived to be the slave to Pharaoh. Yet we know he is destined for more: Joseph will have a mission to save Egypt.
Jesus, in the reading from Mark, has embarked on his mission, teaching and healing those sick in mind and body. But even the Son of God needs solitude and prayer. If Jesus, that most perfect of men, must seek out a space alone to pray and meditate on his holy work, then surely we mere mortals also need to stop our busy-ness, no matter how noble or good, and let the Holy Spirit infuse and guide us, even re-direct us. Sometimes this may be “doing less” or taking on a task that we had not anticipated. But we can only know what God wants us to do if we allow ourselves to “dream,” to meditate and pray, to be still.
This is true not only in our personal lives but also as we seek to serve God in the world. We need to be guided by the quiet inner voice of God. Our parish is currently undergoing a process of discernment to learn anew our collective task. Likewise, each one of us may need to seek similar discernment to help us on our individual paths. Our true Lenten discipline should be based not on what we give up to the Lenten fast but the extent to which we can find the “lonely” place to replenish ourselves with the Holy Spirit. It is through prayer and meditation that we can discern how God is calling us individually.
Dear God, help me to renew my spirit so that by Easter I can, with the Psalmist, say:
“The meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb.
I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.”