Discovering Lent

The annual appearance of the “Little Black Books for Lent” at church the other day brought the imminence of the season home to me.  From previous use, I recalled that the Black Book suggests beginning the Sunday before to make plans for Lenten observance, so that afternoon I let my mind wander around the idea of Lent.

Surprisingly, what came to me out of the blue was the word “desert,” capturing my attention with its unexpectedness.  My immediate association was the Gospel accounts of Jesus withdrawing to the desert for 40 days to fast and pray before beginning his public ministry,  which is certainly Lenten.  I searched out descriptions and photos of deserts around the world.  Recollecting that in the ancient church, the desert was a place to which holy people retreated to live ascetically as monks, I consulted a book from my shelf called The Forgotten Desert Mothers.

Ultimately these meanderings felt confusing, so I sat further with just the word, “desert.”  What does it conjure?

Wide open space, wind, stillness, space apart, vastness, emptiness

An image of Lent itself as desert began to emerge, a conceptual view of the season as a unified whole, somehow separate yet also deeply connected to my daily life.  I receive this image as a gift, because so often the traditional triad of Lent – prayer, fasting and almsgiving – have seemed disjointed to me.  This year I’m greeting the season with curiosity to discover how the desert image will develop.
IMG_0241[1]

This entry was posted in Liturgical Year and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s