Patient: Is there anything you can prescribe for my illness doctor? Physician: Take this remedy – 1 week in a Palawan resort, 3 days of island hopping, watch the sunset on a boulevard, go hiking, and chill out in a coffee shop. Return after one month.

Jesus was like this doctor when his disciples, after their mission, reported back to him. “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” The disciples were overwhelmed by their accomplishments and awed by the power Jesus shared with them. But Jesus focused first on his concern for the welfare of his chosen collaborators. He wanted them to rest, to regain their strength, to digest the events they experienced, and specially, to have time to pray.

We live in stressful times in a stress-filled world. Children lose vitality because of stress. Young people resort to mischief to release tensions. Adults suffer burn-out and dissipation. People can actually die due to stress and depression. Truly, we all need some rest from the grueling pressures of work, school, home and personal relationships.

We need to discover how to enjoy life. We must learn to stay on top of things in spite of our problems. Far from leaving us defeated, our daily interactions and occupations should make us richer, better, and happier. And while many professionals offer the remedy of counselling, wellness programs and eastern meditations, the Lord invites us to discover our “desert place” where we can find total rest for our body, mind and spirit. This desert refers to prayer and union with the Lord.

While recollections and retreats are beneficial to us, they are not as easy to attend or to schedule. The habit of prayer though, is both accessible and inexpensive. All you have to do is follow the advice of St. Francis de Sales: “Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others, and talk to God.”

Take the doctors advice. Follow your counselor. More importantly, obey Jesus’ direction. Find the desert in your heart and rest in him.