Time in the Desert
Updated: Feb 25
Many Christians observe Lent, a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in the 40 days leading up to Easter. The writers of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all describe Jesus going out into the desert for 40 days to fast and pray before he begins his public ministry. He is drawn by a need to be present to God without the worldly distractions of people, possessions and comfort. He is simply alone with his God.
Regardless of our religious background, we humans all need time to be centered and present, to be human be-ings, not just human doers. Just as Jesus comes out of the desert transformed and refreshed, ready for action, our time in prayer, meditation or contemplation readies us for the work we are called to do.
If you observe Lent, consider incorporating care for the earth into your practices. In addition to fasting and abstaining from meat on Fridays, set a goal of learning some new recipes and making more days meatless. Contribute what you save to help people affected by climate disasters. Consider alternate forms of fasting - from plastics or unnecessary shopping.
Make your almsgiving meaningful by linking it to creating new buying (or nonbuying) habits.
This Lenten calendar from St. Francis Xavier Parish in New York City has helpful suggestions for every day: https://catholicclimatecovenant.org/files/resource/attachment/SFX_EnvMin_LentenCalendar_2023_P._1__2_FINAL.pdf
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