Filled with the holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry.
– Luke 4:1-2
[Jesus] would withdraw to deserted places to pray.
– Luke 5:16
“We are no longer able to hear God…there are too many frequencies filling our ears.”
– Pope Benedict XVI
Turn down the volume. Turn off the TV. Look away from your phone. Move away from the crowd. Refrain from weighing in. Sit still. Live in your own skin. Allow room for correction. Don’t crave. Don’t hunger to be someone else or to have something else. Don’t say whatever is on your mind, but keep it to yourself. Actually chasten your mind to see if your thoughts were true, good or beautiful. Nourish that thing that honestly makes you smile, that makes you laugh, that makes your heart soar…and don’t tell everyone about it. It is a delicate flame likely to extinguish if exposed to the winds outside. Ignore the speck; attend to the log. Be hard on yourself, but not too hard. Lament your fallibility, but relish your God-given dignity. Smile cordially. Nod warmly. Be quiet and listen. Be contrite. Ask for mercy. Be an agent of grace. Pray for forgiveness, for reform, for guidance. Look and listen for the inevitable response. Believe in God, for He is there.
It is Lent.
A time for desert places.
It is not a time for warmth and comfort, but for sacrifice. It is a time for a little pain and even more growth. Gritty and dry. Challenging and chastening. Shaking us for better things. For better things.
It is Lent.
God is here.
Don’t forget that.
Be here with Him.
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