Saint Jerome Emiliani (Optional Memorial)
Come away . . . and rest a while.
The apostles have just completed a successful mission trip (Mark 6:12-13). Now Jesus tells them it’s time to rest. They need time alone, not only to rest their bodies, but also to spend some quiet time in prayer.
So why didn’t Jesus tell the crowds to let them be for just a few hours? Couldn’t they just give him and his disciples a bit of a break? Well, perhaps they got some of the break they needed. Remember, Jesus had taken the Twelve into a boat and sailed with them across the lake to the deserted place he had in mind. It was only when they arrived at their destination that they were met by the other people. At least they had that quiet time together on the water to rest and regain some of their bearings. They were sailing so slowly that all these people had the time to arrive ahead of them—on foot!
Perhaps this time of rest and prayer, even if was just that short period in the boat, was exactly what allowed Jesus and his disciples to begin ministering to the people as soon as they reached the shore. Maybe it was like a spiritual “power nap.”
Just think: if even Jesus needed to balance his active ministry with physical rest and time for prayer, how much more do we? If you find yourself struggling to serve other people, maybe it’s because you’re too busy and not giving yourself enough time to rest and pray. Maybe you’ve gotten out of the habit of finding that “deserted place” in prayer so that you can be renewed and refreshed in the Holy Spirit.
What does your rhythm of service, rest, recreation, and prayer look like? Is it time for an evaluation and some change? Perhaps going to bed an hour earlier will help you get more sleep and still give you enough time to pray in the morning. Or what about stealing a few moments in the afternoon to “come away” and pray—or even take a short nap? The more you are “rested up,” both physically and spiritually, the more compassion you’ll have for the people God has entrusted to you.
“Jesus, show me when I need to come away with you to rest and rejuvenate.”
1 Kings 3:4-13