Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Jesus, in today's Gospel, "departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God."
Jesus went out to be alone, not to enjoy the view but to pray. He was capable of spending the entire night praying to his Father. Remember, he was human and like us in all things except sin; he chose to spend the night in prayer. Later, he will ask his closest friends to stay awake and watch with him, but they are overcome with sleep.
In one of my Scripture classes the Professor asked which of us had stayed up all night? Many hands were raised. Some had danced the night away at parties that ended with a breakfast; some had stayed awake to watch over a sick child or a dying parent; others were on a bus all night after a game and too excited to sleep. Other students has spent the night before an exam studying. When asked how many had spent a night in prayer, no hands were raised. A few years later I made a two-week school of prayer in Chile and each week included an all-night vigil for prayer. It was an unforgettable experience, but hard to do alone. However, the night my 30-day retreat finished in Manresa in Spain, I spent the night alone in prayer in the cave where Ignatius wrote the Spiritual Exercises and I was amazed that I did not get sleepy at all.
Jesus had an important decision to make and needed to talk to God. He was discerning, praying about his disciples and for them. He chose his Apostles only after the night of prayer. "When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles." He chose them by name; one would betray him, one would deny that he even knew him. He chose them to "Go out to all the world and tell the good news; I am with you always, says the Lord."(Communion Antiphon for today)
Let us, also, try to go out and tell the good news that Jesus is with us always!