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Solitude of the Heart

One of our old Cenacle prayers included a petition asking that we might love the "solitude of the heart" (or translated more literally from the Latin, "the retreat of the heart").

But what does that mean? Solitude of the heart is not the same thing as physical solitude, although I believe we do need to carve out some space and time for physical solitude as well.

In truth, solitude of the heart is a particular way of being in the world. Listen to what the Quaker Thomas R. Kelly says:

"Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself…

"A practicing Christian must above all be one who practices the perpetual return of the soul into the inner sanctuary, who brings the world into its Light and rejudges it, who brings the Light into the world with all its turmoil and its fitfulness and recreates it." (A Testament of Devotion)

This solitude of the heart allows us the freedom, by God’s grace, to begin to see with the eyes of God and to know with the heart of God, rather than with the eyes and heart of Microsoft or the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or the next-door neighbors. Through this way of being, we are drawn toward a truer vision of other people and of creation as a whole.

I believe our Eucharistic worship can facilitate this kind of solitude together — a solitude that doesn’t isolate us, but paradoxically unites us with others.

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