You are my hiding place, O Lord. (Psalm 32:8. The Book of Common Prayer, p.624).
Thomas Merton in his book Thoughts in Solitude wrote, “There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality.” The unreality he wrote about can be an addiction we are not taking care of. Or, a conversation with a friend or spouse that we have been avoiding. It can and most often is the unreality of our life with God within ourselves. How do we know what our relationship with God is really like if we don’t spend time with God as our hiding place?
Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB in her book Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light wrote, “Silence frightens us because it is silence that brings us face to face with ourselves.”
In the midst of a noisy world full of radio, television, the internet, iPhones and iPads; our God is missing us. God is missing being closer to us in moments of solitude and silence so that we may embrace God as our hiding place; where God is waiting to embrace us. In God who is our hiding place, our imperfections do not matter. Our health in mind, body or spirit does not matter. All the questions and frustrations, broken relationships and desires can be found in a nice crowded closet when we spend time away for a little while with God who is our hiding place.
In God our hiding place, we can enjoy the mystical experience of contemplating God’s perfect and holy love. The Holy One who gave us Jesus our Redeemer (who Himself sought out moments of solitude), enters into the crowded places and spaces of our lives while we are hidden away with God, while God “creates a clean heart” in us. In God as our hiding place, we surrender all; and seek only union with the God who has already found us.
Are you spending time in silence and solitude with God as your hiding place this Lent?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB