Today in our Gospel reading Jesus faced temptation in the desert after a 40 day fast. This morning Fr. Herman Katongole challenged us that: “Lent is a time to be courageous to go into the desert, to let what’s hidden within ourselves be open to God… We must put all our trust in God, like Jesus in the desert.”
Given how cold it’s been, being in a toasty warm desert sounds kinda nice right now. But living for five years near a very hot desert in the Middle East, i can tell you it gets VERY hot. Like you-must-carry-a-water bottle-around-at-all-times hot.
So, going into the desert is not a cake-walk. Especially spiritually. I think i’d rather hang out by the streams on the edge of the desert, keeping my feet wet? Where there’s a water source always handy?
But you know, God doesn’t always call us to stay where water gushes. Sometimes we must move into the desert, by faith, and let God provide dew drops when the the streams that have hydrated us spiritually in the past dry out.
Maybe as we open ourselves to God’s embrace in the desert, we will experience the touch of His love taking what we’ve hidden in our hearts out into the light – to be burned up in the blaze of His mercy & grace.
I’m a springtime kinda gal – i love flowers (Roses in the Rubble is the name of this blog?) & green trees & green plants and gushing waterfalls. Spiritually i also love vibrant worship and special times of intense devotion & words of Scripture that jump off the page into my heart. But i have been to the desert… & sometimes stuck there, but even in the desert God has provided. Like these flowers @ St. George’s Monastery in the desert near Jericho.
Don’t be afraid, as Fr. Herman challenged us, to courageously enter the desert this Lent.
grace, peace & desert courage
p.s. i posted this quote from Thomas Merton several years ago, but here it is for our minds to munch on, again…
“The desert is the home of despair. And despair, now, is everywhere. Let us not think that our interior solitude consists in the acceptance of defeat. We cannot escape anything by consenting tacitly to be defeated. Despair is an abyss without bottom. Do not think to close it by consenting to it and trying to forget you have consented.
This, then, is our desert: to live facing despair, but not to consent. To trample it down under hope in the Cross. To wage war against despair unceasingly. That war is our wilderness. If we wage it courageously, we will find Christ at our side. If we cannot face it, we will never find Him.” Thomas Merton (Thoughts in Solitude)