Sights and Sounds of the Desert Prayer
Gospel Reflection: Wednesday, January 11th, 2023
“Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.”
The air is cold and smells like dry rain. Coyotes yip in the distance. The stars begin to fade as the sun rises slowly like a newborn’s smile. There is nothing quite like the loneliness of the desert. The desert is deficient in life, and the life that is there is dry and undersized. The air steals the moisture from your breath and gives only a brief, healing scent of cypress in return. It’s faint but it’s there. Sounds come from nowhere and everywhere, filling dead space and overwhelming a single sense. One sense at a time. The evening chill is like cold water on warm skin. The noon heat is like a baker’s oven. It’s asceticism without effort.
Yet God chose this type of terrain and climate to be the home of His Son. His Son would rise before the dawn, and with the stars still in the sky, make his way out to a desolate place to pray. Was this a desire of silence as an escape from the people for whom he came to seek and to save? Was this an introverted humanity seeking solace in Divinity? Or was this a way to shed the world and marry heaven in a blissful union?
Many times, we seek silence with God as an escape from others or as a way of being consoled. Today, let us be challenged to seek silence as a way to bask in the presence of the One who made us. “Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds. Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!” (Ps 105:1-3) As you spend time with the Lord, imagine being in a desert when all of a sudden “He changes the desert into pools of water, arid land into springs of water.” (Ps 107:35) This is life with the Lord, and this is why he came.
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