By: Bria Isaacson, News Editor
The Office of Spiritual Life will host a day of solitude at the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, KY, on Oct. 1. The event will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This will be a day in which students who attend will not talk, but will stay in silence before God.
According to Jeannie Banter, the assistant director for the office of spiritual life, the goal for this event is “to help students learn to create space for God to show up.”
“In the busyness of life, we often [do] not take time to ‘Be still and know that I am God,'” she said. “This day is a chance for students to put into practice the spiritual discipline of solitude and actively seek to be alone with God.”
The abbey is a great place for students to practice this discipline; it is accustomed to having guests and using the spiritual discipline of solitude, as it has been teaching guests this practice since the abbey’s opening in 1848.
In addition, the abbey has about 1200 acres open to walks and hikes, which guests can use to escape from society, practice solitude and see God’s creation.
According to the abbey’s website, “Silence fosters and preserves the climate of prayer…. Communing with the Lord requires a measure of solitude, a stillness and an emptiness, a waiting on and attending to the Spirit.”
“In the busyness of life, we often [do] not take time to ‘Be still and know that I am God,'”
Thomas Merton, who was a monk and author at the Abbey of Gethsemani until his death, wrote much about solitude and what he learned through it.
He wrote, “Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter into silence.”
Asbury students will be briefly instructed on how to best do this, as many students have probably not been silent before God for an entire day before.
Senior Levi Simonton, Spiritual Life Coordinator (SLC) of Trustees, has participated in the spiritual discipline of solitude before.
“I connect really well with God through aloneness and quietness,” Simonton said. “Personally, having mental quiet and entering into community with God are inextricably connected.
Simonton hopes to attend the day of solitude and thinks it will be a good time for students to “try something outside of [the] box,” as he said.
This event will also be the first day of solitude hosted by the Office of Spiritual Life. Banter said that some classes, such as Dynamics of Spiritual Growth, have participated in a day of solitude, though. The Office of Spiritual Life will offer another day of solitude during the spring semester.