|'Desert Speed,' James Xu|
The Many Deserts of Life
The Promised Land
|'Promised Land,' Sara Credito.|
The Desert of Lent
Perennial Access to the Promised Land
Enter the Wilderness
|'Elijah Fed by An Angel,' Ferdinand Bol, 1660-1663.|
This is the desert call of Lent. A call repeated every day of our lives but which takes on an emphasis in this liturgical season. To come away and return to the Cross. To rest beneath its homey shadow, and to cover and nourish ourselves on the love pouring from His side more abundantly than the wine flowed at the wedding of Canna, and more than did the honey and milk in that temporal Promised Land.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."(Mt 11 28-30).
Suffering is characteristic of life in our post-Fall world. No one can escape it, and everyone wants to find peace and rest - a life free from hassles. Yet here our Lord is telling us that the peace and rest we desire, the Promised Land we seek, is found not by running away from the crosses of our life - which will hunt us down anyway! - but by embracing them, accepting them, and resigning ourselves to them. (Resigning ourselves to crosses that come our way and present themselves, not by being masochists, nor by resigning ourselves to other people's sufferings as some glossed excuse to act indifferently; since shouldering our yoke necessarily involves lightening someone else's load).
Come Away and Rest A While
With great delight I sat in his shadow,and his fruit was sweet to my taste,He brought me to the banqueting house,and his banner over me was love.