During Lent, I am reading John Moses’ The Desert: An Anthology for Lent. There are a few quotations for each day in the Lenten season. Today’s quotes are listed as “The Solitude of the Soul.” One comes from Theophan the Recluse. He was a Russian Orthodox bishop of Tambov in the 19th century. (Tambov is in central European Russia.)
Theophan is quoted as saying, “do not forget that you can be alone amid the noise of the world; and equally you can be surrounded by the hubbub of the world [while] withdrawn in your cell.” I imagine a fellow whose nickname was “the Recluse” knew a little bit about solitude!
Lent is the perfect time to discover, and rediscover, the challenge and joy of solitude. As our friend Theophan says, solitude and isolation are not the same thing. It’s a distinction that I too often fail to appreciate. That’s something for me to use as a guidepost during this year’s Lenten journey.
(The image is from dragoroth-stock.deviantart.com/art/winter-solitude-190973624)