top of page

Lent: Into The Quiet

In Lent, the desert experience will empty us-but it's also the place where God will reach into our hearts and transform us, says Fr. Chris Thomas.  

A few years ago, I stood near Jerusalem looking out into the wilderness and felt my heart pull me there. I wanted nothing more than to be in the desert for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to allow God the space and the time to touch me deeply within. Secondly, I prayed for God to give me the courage I needed to face those things within me which do not bring life.

When I returned home, I began to realise what I think I already knew-that the desert isn't just a physical place. It was offered to me every day as the place where I could face myself and find life.  In the early Church, the desert was seen as anything that moulded and shaped the heart.

The desert experience empties you. It's a place that you undergo, expose yourself to, and where you have the courage to face. It's not so much that you do things in the desert, but that God reaches into your heart and does things within you.

It's God Who does the work-providing you have the courage to be there.

We All Need Transformation

When opening ourselves to God and the power of the Spirit to transform, we need to ask ourselves questions like these: Is my life soured by negativity and disappointment? Am I always dissatisfied and critical? Is the world a bad place to be endured? Do I treat people badly? Do I only think of myself? Do I reject and push away those that I find difficult?

They are the signs of a heart which needs to be more open to transformation. If we are honest, we probably all need to be more open to transformation, which is at the heart of the Gospel. If we are followers of Jesus, we have to be about what he was about.

I believe it's true that, whenever you take the time to be with God in the desert, the first reality you experience is always the negativity within yourself, which we discover when we ask those questions already mentioned.

Courageously Face The Chaos And Demons Within Us

When faced with negativity, the temptation is to run away, and so we miss the incredible gift that we are being offered. Lent is about taking time in the desert, courageously facing the chaos and the demons within us, and to let God do battle with them in us.

The focus on giving things up to earn rewards has, in many senses, been the downfall of Lent. To deprive ourselves so that we have a desert experience is one thing. To give up sugar in our tea, hoping to lose a few pounds on the way, is quite another.

When we gather to celebrate Holy Week, we ritualise the desert experience of Lent. We look at what happened to Jesus and, in his story, we see our story. In his death, we see our death, and in his resurrection, we see our resurrection.

If we've spent our time in Lent in the desert, it will become powerfully clear that this is not someone else's story, but ours-and that we have gone through death and into the risen life of the cosmic Christ.

1 comentário

Marilyn Porter
Marilyn Porter
02 de abr.

Thank you Fr Chris, it’s a great grounding message. Best wishes from Belgium

bottom of page