Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Desert

"Our desert is any place where we confront God. It is not a change of scene, nor a place to run from out failures, nor a heroic adventure that does something for our ego. Our desert experiences may be tedium. weariness, disappointment, loneliness, personal emptiness, emotional confusion, the feeling that we have nothing to give, the conviction that we constantly fail God in prayer. You just have to keep on keeping on in prayer, and you are not aware of "progress," because there seems to be nothing by which it could be measured. There are no paths in the desert except the ones you make by walking on them.

"It is the place of truth, but also of tenderness; the place of loneliness but also of God's closeness and care. The journey is precarious, but he is faithful, even though our own fidelity is shaky. In the place of hunger and poverty of spirit we are fed by the word of God, as Jesus himself was in the desert. Part of our poverty may be that we are not even aware of longing for God, only aware of the suffocating burden of our own sinfulness, of the slum within. But the desert is the place of confrontation not just with our sins, but with the power of God's redemption. You come to see it as a place where there can be springing water, manna to keep you going, the strength you never knew you had, the surprise of the quail that plops down at your feet, a tenderness that cares for you and a knowing of the Lord. These things are not the promised land, but they are tokens of love and may be sacraments of glory. Your life, your prayer, can be the wilderness to which you must look steadfastly if you would see the glory of God."

- from the book, The Coming of God, by Sr. Maria Boulding (1929-2009), a Benedictine nun of Stanbrook Abbey, England.

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