This Lent, We Embrace Our Desert, Reflect on God’s Loving Presence
Lent has begun, and we will spend the next 40 days preparing for the most important feast in the Church: Easter. In order to prepare for his public ministry, Jesus Himself spent 40 days in prayer and fasting in the desert, where He was alone and could encounter the Father.
We frequently do not experience Lent as Jesus did, alone in the desert, without food or water. Our Lent is quite different because our basic needs are met and we live in comfort. And yet, this year we have experienced in a keen way difficulties and crosses tied to the coronavirus. In this way, we can say that the pandemic has, in fact, placed us in our own desert of self-imposed isolation and social distancing, where God wishes to meet us and to show us His Love.
This Lent, I would like to invite you to take advantage of, and even embrace with gratitude, all of the difficulties that the coronavirus has brought with it. For some, this may be poor health. For others, this may be a loss of work. And still others may be a deep sense of loneliness and alienation. While not a good in itself, whatever suffering you might be experiencing is a cross that God has permitted in your life in order to draw you closer to Him.
I would like to encourage you to ask Jesus for the grace to embrace your cross (and Him) with love and to try as much as you can to perceive this cross as a gift. During this Lenten season, I would also like to invite you to take time to thank God every day for what you do have: the Sacraments, life, family, work, warm clothing, running water, electricity, a bed to sleep in—all the things that many people throughout the world lack.
During each Lent, the Church calls us to enter the desert and reflect on God’s Loving presence in our lives. For some people, God has chosen what this desert will be, while others must choose what entering the desert will look like. Either way, God knows what is important for our souls, for our spiritual lives, for our families. And, as He proved through His life, He wants us to be united with Him in Heaven. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Let us repent and believe in God’s love.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for the First Sunday of Lent: Lectionary 23
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