An Anglican nun I know said that when she was interviewed for religious life in a convent they asked her how she thought she would get on with the others in the community. She replied,
"I'll be fine; it's the others I'm not too sure about."
The life of prayer and contemplation is hard enough with its distractions but the life with others is even harder. We are all of us rubbed up the wrong way and often we look for ways of justifying our anger or seek revenge.
In the film the Godfather, Sonny Corleone is lured to his death by his known temper. His pregnant sister is violently abused by her husband and he is told of an alleged incident of this. Rushing to punish his brother in law he walks into an ambush.
Spend a few moments with this passage of the Bible. Matthew 14.13 Herod is having an adulterous relationship with Herodias whom history has it uses the liaison to climb the social ladder. John the Baptist is known to disapprove of the relationship and she has him killed by colluding with her daughter. News of his death reaches Jesus. Look at how He deals with the situation.
I am watching the TV series The Wire about drug barons in Baltimore. Normally the gang leader sends out his thugs to kill anyone who has double crossed a friend, family member or ally. In life revenge is often the norm. Do you struggle with anger?It is one of the passions as much as lust. Last night I wanted to punch someone who rode their bike at me on the pavement. I was shocked by the anger and potential for violence inside me. I was returning from a meeting on prayer!!!
But when a person is spiritually awakened, even if something irritates him, the bond of love is not dissolved; rekindling himself with the warmth of the love of God, he quickly recovers
himself and with great joy seeks his neighbour's love, even though he has been gravely wronged or insulted by him. For the sweetness of God completely consumes the bitterness of the quarrel. St Diadochos
Maybe Our Lord was seeking to rekindle himself with the warmth of the love of God. Maybe it was His version of counting to ten before reacting. What do you think He did in that lonely place?