March 15: The Lenten Desert

The desert is the world’s most barren and arid place. It lacks the two necessary sources for life to thrive: water and vegetation. It is sparsely populated and sparing of no one. It is a place which challenges our hope and offers reminders of death. It is the perfect place to spend Lent!

In what we might call the “false garden” of our modern culture, which is teeming with so many attractions that they have become distractions, we have left that behind and we are on our journey, following the example of Jesus, into the desert of these Forty Days. The constant presence of responsibilities, distractions, and electronic toys these days have helped, in many ways, push the practice of our faith to the margins of our lives. Giving up chocolate or television becomes just another task in the midst of a busy day – rather than a particular act that helps us focus on God and our need for conversion.

How are we doing when it comes to making our Lent more than just giving up a food or an entertainment we love? Are we making the desert, in all its dryness, the place from which we view our lives and actions? When it comes to fasting, do we appreciate what it means to join Christ in His Passion – mindful that the only way to Easter Sunday is through this Lenten desert?

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