Conversatio Divina

Spiritual Practices: An invitation to grow deeper

Jean Nevills

Michael Simmons shares from his own experience of loneliness and solitude, and on the relationship between contemplation and justice.

Is there a word, phrase, or quote in this essay with which you resonate? Or feel resistance?

In what part of your body do you feel a reaction/response?

To what faithfulness is the Inner Light guiding you?

Michael writes: Loneliness seeks to fill its lacking with action, while solitude acts out of the overflow from its center. Loneliness seeks acceptance, and avoids rejection through shallow exterior displays of solidarity, and solitude is moved from its internal solidarity into long term action. Loneliness manufactures the image that others perceive, solitude is not concerned with perception, because it lives congruently from within on behalf of others.

Find 5 or 6 minutes to be alone with God.  On a piece of paper, draw a continuum with loneliness at one end and solitude at the other. Take a breath in, and exhale, centering in God’s loving presence. Notice where on that line are you finding yourself at this moment. Share with God what you’re noticing. How might God be inviting you to respond?