Tag Archives: introverted

Thomas à Kempis and Solitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, March 25, 2017

solitude - sitting

Thomas à Kempis and Solitude

I realize I’m probably going out on a limb, but I suspect Thomas probably was more introverted than extroverted. Being more extroverted myself, I read his instructions from the Imitation of Christ as far beyond me, for the most part. However, I have several children who are, indeed, introverts. I could much more easily see them adapting to some of Thomas’s recommendations.

Don’t suppose that I mean that some of his recommendations are not intriguing! Certainly, they are. Especially since I am becoming more introverted now that I’m in my fifties, I would like to strive to follow some of these.

For instance:Thomas’s instructions, as far as leaving the crowd behind. “What’s certain? The person who wants to arrive at interiority and spirituality has to leave the crowd behind and spend some time with Jesus.” [1] This is good instruction, whatever century you are in, whatever situation in which you find yourself. I especially am intrigued by his statement wanting “to arrive at interiority and spirituality.” That makes me want to get inside my interior and sprinkle some spiritual fertilizer around! I would like to develop my interiority and spirituality, for sure.

Another insight hit home to me: “A cell that’s much prayed in is a pleasant spot. A cell that’s rarely prayed in is a forbidding place.” [2] This statement reminded me of the church I pastor, St. Luke’s Christian Community Church (in Morton Grove, a suburb of Chicago). This church has a prayed-in feel. I know that much of that feeling of deep-down prayer comes from our Korean friends, who meet in our sanctuary from 12 noon to 2 pm every Sunday. They are pray-ers! Similar to Thomas à Kempis, our sanctuary is a place that is familiar with prayer. Even, saturated with prayer. It’s great that we have opportunities like this!

When it comes to the bottom line, solitude is expressive, yet solitary. A way to God, yet also a way to havedear Ho relationship with others in our community. Dear Lord, thank You for such wise words and such insights  Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 149.

[2] Ibid, 150.

Balance Between Solitude and Activity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 1, 2015

winter road at night

Balance Between Solitude and Activity

Today’s reading talked of the delicate balance between solitude—what I call “alone time,” and activity. I used to like very much being in a crowd, and become energized by a group of people. In my twenties and thirties. That would most often be where I would feel the most alive.

But, now? I see the sense of being alone. Seeking solitude. Craving alone time. I am developing my introverted side. Being surrounded by introverts in my family, I appreciate another way of looking at life, and dealing with what life brings my way. Appreciating diversity.

So, I can well see how Fr. Nouwen lifts up that delicate, careful balance “between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community.” Moreover, this balance “forms the basis of the Christian life and should therefore be the subjects of our most personal attention.” [1]

In my Advent journey, I am encouraged to balance both active moments (the more extroverted times) and moments of solitude (the introverted times). Lord, help me to examine, assess, and evaluate these things.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 6.