|Window Rock, AZ 2005|
Today's Gospel reading has Jesus heading out to the desert for forty days of prayer and fasting. It's the first Sunday in Lent and I am not feeling it as much as I would like...if that makes sense. It isn't like I am approaching these days half-heartedly, just challenged in focusing on the season. Last Sunday I was all about it, and preparing while anticipating my daily commitment to prayer and this season of fasting and almsgiving. By Monday the zeal was wearing off, only to be greeted by Ash Wednesday, sandwiched between Fat Tuesday and Valentine's Day. So, this entrance into the desert has been with reluctance and trepidation.
While a novice each week offered the opportunity to have a desert day. It was an interesting mix as I lived into the experience of becoming a Sister of St. Agnes, which offered much culture shock and many moments for integration. I both dreaded and cherished those days. After taking vows I kept up the practice monthly for a short period, and then got distracted. When I first read today's Gospel I realized that the devil tempts Jesus at the end of the fast. Then I began to reflect about my own experiences with temptation and recognize that when on retreat there is seldom temptation. It is only after the quieting and prayer, when I enter back into my reality that I face the usual culprits of distraction that distract me from positive habits of the mind. I welcome Lent differently this afternoon after that reflection. This is a time of preparation, not perfection and it will pass regardless if I am engage or not. The difference is how I open up to the conversion that is available, and that opening will happen through discipline and love. The other thing that popped-up was that I truly loved living in the desert, and found both times I was there my life slowed down. This might be the most appropriate season at this time.