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Lenten reflection: “Through the Desert” with Jacob Rudd

This article is reserved for Aleteia Premium members

J-P Mauro - published on 03/30/22

"I am not alone through the desert."

The fourth week of Lent is upon us, as we inch our way closer to the moment of Christ’s ultimate victory. It is around this time each year, with our fasts a month strong, that we seek to reflect on the journey thus far in order to maintain our spiritual drive through the home stretch. In 2022, there’s no better means of reflection than the musical stylings of Jacob Rudd.

Last year, Jacob blew us away with his phenomenal album While Earth Remains. The 14-track work is filled with worthy selections for the discerning Catholic listener, but one song in particular is perfectly suited to Lent: “Through the Desert.”

Rudd sets the mood with a cool western guitar line that paints a vivid image of a trek through a barren wasteland. The lyrics are richly introspective, exploring the deep love which God has for us, but they all center around one phrase that Rudd keeps returning to: “I am not alone through the desert.” 

Jacob sat down with Aleteia to discuss “Through the Desert” and to help us better use his song as a vehicle for Lenten reflection. 

Aleteia: Your song brings to mind the 40 days that Christ spent in the desert, during which he was tempted by Satan, but your lyrics bring up the moment on the Cross when He says, “I thirst.” These are two very different moments of His ministry — the prior taking place right after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and the latter being at the climax of the Passion of the Christ. How do you feel they relate to each other?

Jacob Rudd: In both the desert and at the cross Jesus was suffering. In both cases, sacrifice was involved. In both cases, Jesus was on mission, obedient to the Father giving Himself so as to save souls.

The desert was the preparation. The cross was the ending. In both places he experienced pain, temptations, and no human consolation. That is why I felt it OK to connect the desert with the cross. How blessed we are that Jesus remained faithful in both situations! How great is our King! I want to say Alle … but I can’t. It is Lent.

What is the spiritual significance of Jesus’ thirst from the Cross?

It shows us that God’s love for us is strong and deep. His Sacred Heart yearns, weeps, and fights to win us over to Himself and to Heaven. It is not superficial or shallow. Yes, it is so comforting to know that we have a humble God who is on our side! And He longs for our love! Not for us to make tons of money, or to be famous, or to conquer people … just our love!

Because of this thirst, He is willing to forgive our sins so fast. He loves us even though we hurt Him. He dies for us even though we may choose to throw away His grace.

“I thirst for you” … What else can I say? I am no Mother Teresa but what comes to my mind is this: “I long for you to be in Heaven with me. So much more than you realize. I’ve given everything to You. And I will rejoice greatly to see you in my Father’s house. I want you to be forever safe and forever mine.”

During Lent, we each walk our own desert by means of fasting and prayer. How would you suggest we approach this from a desire to best follow Christ?

I feel like I am always tempted to think that I fail during Lent. I have migraine headaches so I am not that good at fasting … I am scattered in my resolutions … sometimes trying to do too much or sometimes too little …

My feeble advice is this (it is for myself too): Don’t make Lent too much about yourself. Make sure that you are fasting from something. Make sure that it isn’t too easy. But keep it simple. Then make sure you are praying from the heart.

Remember that you are with Jesus when you pray. Know that you are with the one person who loves, cares, and understands you more than anyone else. Finally, make renewed efforts to avoid sin, vices, or putting other things ahead of Him. Focus on being at the foot of the cross. Go to stations of the cross at your parish, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and the Rosary … spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Oh yes, that is the best, I think. Just sitting with Jesus in adoration! What a friend we have in Jesus!

Click here to hear more from Jacob Rudd.

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