I write as I fly over the area around Alice Springs. The Red Heart stretches off in all directions. There is scattered vegetation, dry riverbeds, almost no buildings in sight.
I am reminded of the image of the desert often in connection with retreats and spiritual renewal.
The Jewish people spent forty years in the wilderness being formed as a people. They needed to leave Egypt and the slavery which they endured there behind .
In the wilderness they make their Covenant with God .
Many a time, later on in their history, when they had strayed from the Covenant, the prophets tell them that they need to repent. They needed to return to the desert to be renewed.
In the Christian era the desert Mothers and Fathers populated the deserts of Egypt and the Middle East. They wanted to get away from distractions and live simply .
Lent is a time of renewal; a time to let go of excess baggage.
Is there too much noise in my life?
Is my life too cluttered?
Do I try to make some space for prayer and reflection every day?
Do I read some scripture every day ?
What about the wilderness of Compassion?
Of course, we cannot all get away from family etc.
However, it is important that we try to find some time to reflect. To pray for wisdom and courage, and to act with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
The wilderness of compassion is to try to get out of our comfort zone so as to risk loving more.
When the rains do come, the desert springs to amazing new life.
We have so much inner beauty and goodness in us!
With the grace of God, it can burst into new life !