Time Alone

England, in the Year 1342. Geoffrey Chaucer was born. You may have heard of his “Canterbury Tales” though he wrote a great deal more. Some have dubbed him the “Father of English Literature.” That may be, but in addition to this poet and author, another birth took place in England that same year. Her name we know as Julian. She wrote the first book in English by a woman. That achievement is worthy of notice no matter what other circumstances, but she wrote that book as an anchorite to the Church in Norwich. After her husband and children died in the Great Plague, she moved into a space in the Cathedral in Norwich as an anchorite; essentially a hermit living in the Church.
Her solitude gave her the time and focus to devote her life to prayer. She prayed for the Church, for its Priests and Pastors, for its parishioners, for the King, and for the nation. Bishops, princes, and generals came to her for counsel. They valued her wisdom; they sought her to pray for them.
These days of enforced social distancing are so jarringly different from our typical days. Life feels very disrupted; our routines have been pushed aside. Isolation feels like punishment.
We could choose to see this time apart as an opportunity to spend more time with God. The usual distractions of groups, and dinners in restaurants set aside, we could choose to see the time as an opportunity to practice the calling of solitary prayer.
We could choose to see this time of solitude as a gift. Early in the morning, when everyone else in the house is asleep, when there are no distractions, when your mind has quieted itself from the general churning of the day, then you may discover that you can feel God’s presence more keenly, hear God’s whispered voice more clearly, let go of your own need to be in total control and allow your spirit to sink into the Holy Spirit, where you may be renewed, refreshed, and strengthened for tomorrow’s challenges.
Find your own hermitage today, where you may go alone to meet God’s loving presence.

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