Desert Journeys 16
March 22nd 2017
Lent is an invitation to renew your life, and so we might wish we could, like the desert fathers, remove ourselves from the noise and confusion of modern life to live a simpler life where we could better hear God’s voice.
San Juan de La Cruz (St John of the Cross) often took his brothers, in the dark of the night, to meditate beside the river, to show how a place for silent contemplation can be found close to home. As the 5th Century desert monk Evagnius said, ‘A monk is he who, separated from all, is connected to all’.
There is no need to travel far to replicate the experience of the desert monks. We can withdraw to our own ‘desert’ if we can ‘de-clutter the soul’ by trying to remove the all the usual attachments, desires for success, and the need to achieve and gain.
For myself, the most difficult to remove are those attachments and desires that arise from defensive survival needs when attempting to cope in what sometimes feels like a hostile and aggressive world. San Juan compares this challenge to a ‘dark night’ which is to be overcome. So my Lent ‘desert journey’ will be one of trying to empty the soul of such clutter, leaving a ‘desert’ or space, for God to enter.
In such a way, we can experience the ‘sounding solitude’ and hear the ‘silent music’ * as God speaks to us, rather than the other voices we usually listen to, including our own.
*Cantico Espiritual, San Juan De La Cruz