Temptations in the Desert

Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Here are a few thoughts as we take off into the desert for forty days:

What is my desert?
Each one of us experiences our own unique and personalized desert. Do you know what I mean? Where in your life do you experience stagnation … being stuck … even bored? Is there a situation that, try as you might, you can’t seem to change? What do I dread facing in my life, but pretend isn’t there?

What are the wild beasts–the temptations?

Those things that lure me away from my calling to be with Jesus in the desert?

We are at the very beginning of Lent. That is the good news! No matter how much I may have slinked away from my resolutions, or even my faithfulness to our Lord in general, I can humbly come back to that place in the desert where He is waiting for me, and say, “I’m sorry. I need help. Jesus, can I try again?” And He happily covers my face with kisses and makes me feel welcomed, loved and accepted.

And don’t forget He sends His angels to minister to us, too.

Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side
to light, to guard, to rule and guide.
Amen.

Comments 2

  1. J.M.+J.T.

    In keeping with the spirituality of the desert, I thought I’d share this from an article written by
    Sister Maria Boulding, O.S.B. from Stanbrook Abbey:

    “It is no facile joy, nor is it in the least romantic. It is not the relief of escaping from complications or annoyances or noise or multiplicity. It is the joy on the further side of emptiness. The real desert is inside you, and you must ‘look steadfastly towards the wilderness’ if you are to know there the glory of the Lord. Our desert may be weariness, tedium, emotional confusion, the stifling sense of failure, the feeling that we have nothing to give. Paradoxically, a sense of being trapped in material comforts and in a consumer lifestyle can itself have a desert-like quality. Another very common desert experience in the modern world is the felt absence of God from society, with the fear that faith is losing ground all the the time, and that the young will have an even less sense of God’s presence than their parents did. The conviction that you constantly fail God in prayer is another aspect of the desert. You have to accept your radical poverty, your inner confusion and your squalor, and your inability to pray. All our ideas about God fall infinitely short of his reality, and if we cling to them too tightly we can be trying to make God in our own image. But God wants us for himself, and so he gently takes away anything that impedes him. Then you begin to know the joy of the desert; the joy that God is God, and that you can do nothing but let him be God for you, and for all the others with whom you know yourself deeply united. “

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