...True solitude is selfless. Therefore, it is rich in silence and charity and peace. It finds in itself seemingly inexhaustible resources of good to bestow on other people.
The true solitary must recognize that he is obliged to love other men and even all things created by God... Love is his solitude
Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island pp.248, 251
What we think we are, the things we use usually to define our identities, will not outlast us. They are nothing but straw in the wind, less than the blown spray of the rising waves: for we have died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3.3).
In her book Living the Jesus Prayer, Irma Zaleski writes:
The way of the Jesus prayer has been called “white martyrdom.” It is the way of the Cross, because there is no greater pain than to stand in the total poverty of our human weakness,to see clearly our misery, our inability to be good. The temptation to judge ourselves, to hate ourselves, would be irresistible if we did not know and had not experienced the merciful, healing power of Jesus. (pp.42-43)It is a mistake, though, to see it as something outside ourselves, or something that could be imposed by a superior on another. Only God can call us, as Irma Zaleski points out:
How do we know that we are called to this way of prayer? In a way, we don't. If we feel drawn to try it, we should try it. It doesn't really matter what our motives are. If our motives are not pure (and whose ever are?), God will purify them. If it is not God's will for us, we shall not persevere, but if it is God's will, we shall soon know. The Jesus Prayer, like any true love, is never imposed on us. It never does violence to our deepest spiritual desires and longings, but instead fulfils them. (ibid., pp.16-18)Lord, lead us each, lead me, into the way of true repentance. Show us the condition of being human; lead us back to the Ground of our being...
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner...