This past Sunday’s gospel was about Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not wander into the wilderness by accident. He sought the wilderness of the Judean hills with a purpose in mind. He went there so that God could speak to him. Being away from the crowds and his family allowed Jesus to clear his heart and mind, so that he might gain clarity about what God was calling him to do.
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are invited in this season of Lent to enter a different type of wilderness. Most of us will not literally go away from family and friends to a quiet place of isolation or silent retreat, but we can try to find a quiet undistracted space for listening to God.
Ask yourself, what are my most intrusive distractions? How can I change my day or my week to allow space for quiet time with God? It may be as simple as coming to the church for a short visit to the nave to sit in solitude; or you may find a place in your home or workspace where the intrusions are diminished so you have time with God. It may be walking the stations of the cross or slowly walking a prayer path. It can be your sacred space at home when you are alone.
In the wilderness, Jesus had few if any comforts – no food, no safe place to sleep, no one to talk to, except God. Lent is an invitation to ask ourselves, “how could going without provide space to grow?” As followers of Jesus, instead of trying to fill our life with food, people and distractions when life seems difficult and stressful, perhaps it would be in our best interest to find our own sense of desert wilderness – to be alone, but with God. How can you create that space in your life, not just during Lent, but a habit of seeking God in ways which focus on listening to God in a quiet place?
May you encounter God in this season of reflection, Mother Pat+