recently uncovered treasures from a friend, I found the following excerpt from one of my favorite books...
Someone asked Father Thomas Dubay: "is it realistic to suggest in our century that busy lay men and women in an extremely complex and driven society habitually 'go off some place where they can be alone and pray?' Not a few people would accuse you of trying to monasticize lay life."
Father's response: "Yes, I am well aware of the criticism, but it is superficial and off target. The crucial question is not what I am or am not trying to promote, but what the Lord and His saints, married as well as religious, have done and what He and His Church teach.
The monasticizing objection probably stems from a subconscious tendency we wounded humans have to dilute the radical call of the Gospel. People given to one-step thinking love to put labels on what they do not like, and then think they have disposed of the matter. Mediocrity has deep roots.
Lay men and women today who are serious about prayer - and I know from personal experience with them - completely reject this criticism. Yet, you ask whether contemplative solitude is realistic in our day and in all states of life. The answer to your question is an emphatic affirmative. Especially in our complex and driven society, as you put it, do we need healthy solitude with God. Solitude is a time for unwinding, for BE-ing. Modern men and women are over-stimulated, over-worked, over-met, over-talked, over-amused. That is one reason so many are superficial and trivial. There is no chance for them to grow and develop beyond where they are.
In solitude we begin to possess what we already have. Seeds can begin to grow. In Christ we already have everything, but over-activity and over-stimulation smother it." (Thomas Dubay SM, Seeking Spiritual Direction, Servant Books, 1994, p. 173)
I look at these words and wonder: is anything smothering the "everything" Christ has provided for me? Am I over-amused, over-stimulated, over-anything?
A question I will be taking into my own next solitude with God is: "Lord, I am over-what(s)?"
(Seeking Spiritual Direction can be found at this Amazon link.)