We frequently hear people promoting the importance of “self care,” meaning taking care of ourselves rather than only caring for others. This is important whether we are caregivers by profession, at home, or among friends. Jesus recognizes the importance of taking care of one’s own needs, whether they be spiritual, mental, or physical. The disciples have returned after being sent out to teach and heal. Jesus invites them to take time for themselves to rest.
At first glance, it seems that Jesus doesn’t follow his own advice and take time to rest himself. Indeed, immediately after this passage in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus feeds the 5,000 (the “great crowd” that had followed him). But after serving the physical and spiritual needs of others, he dismisses both the crowds and his disciples and “went up on the mountain to pray” (Mk 6:46).
What can you do today to care for your own spiritual or physical needs? After giving some focus to your own needs, what can you do to care for the needs of another?
—The Jesuit Prayer team