Sunday, February 25, 2007

Go to the Desert

We've come around to the First Sunday in Lent again.... and its always a fresh lesson to hear about Christ's temptations in the desert.
The desert.... place of dryness and seeming death,place of escape and flight from ourselves and society.The desert... a place to meet God.
One of the sayings from the Desert Fathers I've absorbed over the years has been "Look, Weep, Live..." I first read it in Alan Jones book, Soul Making, The Desert Way of Spirituality. He advocates a spiritual pathway through the wilderness guided by the sign posts LOOK! WEEP! LIVE! Dr. Jones says that "the wilderness is the place where nothing grows and where our very existence is threatened. Yet it is also the arena...especially chosen by God as the focus of his revelation." (p. 6) God revealed the Law to Moses in the wilderness. God spoke to Elijah in the wilderness. Jesus continually went to the wilderness for struggle, inspiration, and renewal.
It's reflective of the inevitable self examination and revelation which comes with the desert territory. Alone with ourselves and our God, we realize how truly hapless and hopeless the human situation is and how, after all, we are all.... well.... like or not... human.
Once we live through those revelations we can get beyond them to the business of being about God's business. But it's not pretty and it's not easy.
Venerable Louis of Granada, Spanish Dominican and friend of St Charles Borromeo, wrote
"Let us therefore love that solitude which the Lord sancitfied by his example, for he who is not engaged in conversation with men is almost necessitated to converse with God.

O wretchedness of the present world

Men have abandoned the deserts and have given themsevles over to a life filled with worldy care and anxiety. And since the roads to the desert are now overgrown with weeds, at least make yourself a spiritual desert by recollecting your senses and entering within yourself, because in that way you will find God."

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