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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Solitude and Affliction - Our Best Assets

Isaiah proclaims that lowly and afflicted persons, like the homeless for instance, are the ones whom God approves. Posssibly Isaiah and many poor homeless know something that the “homefull” do not . . .

“Thus says the Lord:
Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being? declares the Lord.

“‘This is the one I approve:
The lowly and afflicted man - the one who trembles at my word.’”
(Isaiah 66:1-2)

“[Being in] solitude shuts a man off from everything else and takes him back to his own nothingness. No outward show can help him anymore. Every superficial prop, every distraction, has gone. A person stands naked and defenseless before God, that is to say, in that poverty and weakness which are his only asset. Before solitude brings him to the encounter with God, it first teaches him his limitation, his abysmal insignificance.

“In a sense the effect of solitude is a secularizing one: it gives release from many false ideas and illusions, from myth of every kind. It teaches one how to be an ordinary human being, frail and in need of help.”
Father Andre Louf, abbot emeritus, Cistercian Monastery, Mont-des-Cats, France.
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