Come to a Quiet Place

  

The apostles had gone on their missionary journey and returned. Jesus was teaching as well and wanted to speak to the Apostles. Perhaps he wanted to hear the whole story, to give advise, make comments, or to praise them. However, when he went to a solitary, or deserted, place it was to pray. He seems to be saying that they needed to rest, to think about their work, and to "recharge".

1. This desire can be seen as an echo of the Sabbath rest. God understood that people need rest from their normal activities. Work, even though necessary, can easily be a tyranny. See the Catholic Catechism on work and rest.

2. The idea of coming away to a quiet place for prayer and spiritual recharging is an important practice among Christians. A spiritual retreat can be very valuable.

"The principal reason of the success of retreats...is their very necessity. In the fever and agitation of modern life, the need of meditation and spiritual repose impresses itself on Christian souls who desire to reflect on their eternal destiny, and direct their life in this world towards God." From Retreats in the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia.
 
3. The reaction of the crowd can be instructive. They saw Jesus leave and ran ahead to meet the boat when it reached shore again. Thus in prayer it may seem that Jesus has gone off somewhere and can't be reached. This sort of dryness in prayer can be very frustrating, but it is normal. It is a common experience for those in spiritual life. We need to do what the crowd did, i.e. not give up, and be persistent. Lk 18:1-8.