The easy way to go with today's Gospel is the Pharisee who prays in public. Each of us can think of the Pharisee examples in our own lives. From Popes to the guy next door, we can rattle off the examples and before you know it, we're in judgment land. Once I got through that this morning...and I go there like a moth to flame...once I got quiet, once I began to listen to the words, then I began to hear.
That is the moment we enter the private room.
The private room is our heart. We go there and leave the Pharisee-type distractions behind and meet the God who loves us. And as lovers do, we lay out what we have before us. The private room is not a prayer-space in your house, nor is it some approved method. I can teach you about lectio divina in ten minutes and it can take you a lifetime to travel through it. No, the private room is about the quiet meeting between you and God. It is there where the lovers, the groom and bride, meet and share, scream and cry, laugh and love. (Old deejay that I am, I think of the old Lovin' Spoonful song "Darlin' Be Home Soon," a song about a lover waiting for the return of his beloved "...for the great relief of having you to talk to."
We can enter the private room in the confessional. We can enter it in our car, or in line at the bank, or the quiet of our living room. We can enter the private room at Mass. In fact, the liturgically well done Mass is designed to draw us into the private room, to arrange the meeting of lovers when we are in communion with Christ.
We can also go to the private room with a meditative, quiet Our Father. It is amazing, all these prayers we rattle off...like the pagans blabbering words...are really tools to lead us to the private room. Meditation is the training ground of contemplation.
My wife was once asked what we would be doing if we had never met each other. She said that she would have been a medical missonary and I would have been a monk.
Maybe she was right.