“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”
By Jim Lindsay, Catholic Volunteer Network Staff
Spirituality: The wilderness is the place of devastation and danger, of being tempted off one’s path and also of meeting God. Jesus finds God’s path for him in the wilderness. Prayer is a wilderness time. It can be perilous for it brings us in touch with the evil as well as with the good in ourselves. With practice, it makes known to us the peace of God in Christ – the harmony that can be found in the desert. It is also the place of recommitment to God and of finding the strength that God offers us.
Reflection: What spirit motivates me in the things I do? Is my heart a home for the Spirit? Could the Holy Spirit be inviting me to take more quiet space? In the scriptures, the ‘wilderness’ is a place of disclosure and of intimacy with God. I need to put secondary things aside to meet God. God is found in emptiness as well as in fullness.
Social Justice: As Lent begins, I might promise God that I will be faithful to the quiet space and time that sacred space offers me. I want the reign of God to come near me. I want to believe more deeply in the good news and to seek to bring about God’s justice on the earth.
Reflection: What difference do I make to other people’s lives? What do I do, within my limitations, to help remove the abuses which are part of our society? These are just some of the questions I can ask myself during these six weeks.
Simple Living: In our wilderness times we are seduced to listen to the voices that lead us away from God. These voices tell us that the good in our lives is represented by money, power, security, and fame. All of these can be good things. But good things turn evil when we become persuaded that we don’t need God in our lives. We get confused about what is truly meaningful in our lives and what gives our lives genuine purpose. The challenge in all of this is to live our lives knowing that God will provide everything we need.
Reflection: As I enter this Lenten journey, I will examine the areas of temptations, misdirected desires and loyalties in my life. “Repent and believe” involves a process of re-focusing on what is really of value in my life.
Community: Only God could be so human as to withstand temptation. Mark’s Gospel depicts Jesus as divine but also deeply human. He enters the wilderness for one reason only: to find God, to seek God and to belong to him completely. Only then does he go to Galilee and proclaim good news to others.
Reflection: What type of person am I in relation to my family, friends, work colleagues and other people with whom I come in contact? How involved am I as a member of my Christian community, e.g., my parish?
This reflection is part of our Lenten Series – download the entire reflection guide here.