As Jesus continues to send the twelve apostles on a mission, he encourages them with a teaching about not being afraid. He says that things we hear in secrets and darkness and whispers are the very things we are to proclaim.
This is a strange teaching, no?
But, a few chapters earlier, in chapter six of Matthew, Jesus also tells everyone that when they pray, go to your inner room and pray in secret.
Something powerful can happen when we place ourselves in the presence and power of God, in interior silence and solitude. Public prayer is wonderful, prayer with words is great, but there is another level of prayer that gives us another kind of power, and it is called contemplative prayer.
When we are able to practice this kind of contemplative prayer, we can experience the lack of fear, our dignity in God, everything that Jesus wants from his disciples in today’s Gospel.
A famous American monk, Father Thomas Keating, once said this about putting ourselves in the presence of God in this way:
“This Presence is immense, yet so humble; awe-inspiring, yet so gentle; limitless, yet so intimate, tender and personal. I know that I am known. Everything in my life is transparent in this Presence. It knows everything about me – all my weaknesses, brokenness, sinfulness – and still loves me infinitely. This Presence is healing, strengthening, refreshing … It is like coming home to a place I should never have left, to an awareness that was somehow always there, but which I did not recognize.”
The teaching of Jesus today is something we can actually experience for ourselves. This summer, hopefully everyone can find some time for quiet, silence and the revelations that come in the prayer of interior silence.