Jesus went up a mountain and there he stayed the night praying to God. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what this could have been like. Were any words exchanged? Maybe none were needed.
I thought of the experience of Saint John Vianney who described his own prayer as looking at God and God looking at him or St. Jane de Chantel who exhorted her followers to “hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him.”
I thought of my own experience of encountering God without the use of a lot of words or for that matter, without any words, however not for a whole night. Prior to going to my nephew’s house for dinner, I would occasionally stop at the monastery that adjoins his property and join the monks for evening prayer, alone for some time in the church before the monks entered their stalls.
The church has a high circular nave. The circular walls are dotted with hundreds of pieces of stained glass. Alone with the blessed sacrament, with the sanctuary light flickering, I hear noises. Could it be chestnuts falling from the surrounding trees hitting the thin roof or maybe wood expanding and contracting from the heat?
Sitting, doing nothing, yet I know He is present. There was a power that served to quiet me, relax me, and stay with me as I exited the church to go to dinner.
That experience, that power is not unique to me, nor should it come as a surprise to any of us when it happens. We just heard part of an exhortation that St. Paul gave to members of a Christian community that he had catechized. What he said to them applies to us; we likewise have been washed, sanctified, justified in the name of Jesus.
In the words of Isiah 43:1, “I called you by name and you are mine.”
Elsewhere in the Scriptures there are other examples of Jesus engaging God, the Father, in prayer. In this instance, Jesus spent the night. We can speculate on what transpired but better to focus on what happened once He came down from the mountain. He named and selected His first disciples. They were His first but not His last, for we also have been called by name and we are His.
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About Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C.
Father Leo Polselli, C.S.C. is Chaplain at the Father Peyton Center in Easton, MA. Before coming to Holy Cross Family Ministries he served as a teacher and a parish priest. He also served for six years as a General Assistant of the Congregation in Rome, Italy. Originally from Fall River, MA, Father Leo grew up with eight siblings. Gifted with several languages, he is able to serve the Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian communities. When he's not greeting everyone who comes to the Father Peyton Center, you can find him regularly reading newspapers!