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Coming into the Desert

And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” 

(Mark 6:31)

The Church calls us to spend extra time praying, fasting and repenting. There are specific colors and environmental decorations the Church uses to help us make our journey through the season.

Purple is a color theme that is used throughout the season. In ancient times, purple was considered the color of kingship, loyalty and nobility.  Jesus is loyal, noble and the King of kings. Yet, two thousand years ago the soldiers and Pharisees disrespected Him. They wanted to humiliate and mock Him, and so they forced Him to wear a purple robe with bad and evil intentions. It was to put Him to shame before they crucified Him. Today the Church uses the color purple to symbolize our repentance. We are sinners and ask God for His mercy and forgiveness. In addition to that, we also see the decorations of the desert on the sanctuary such as dry branches, sand, stones, broken jars, etc.  These artistic decorations attempt to create sentimental images that lifts up our spirits to pray.

This sentimental image of the desert reminds us of Jesus’ journey in the desert for forty days and forty nights to pray, fast, and encounter His Heavenly Father, as we are called to do. We would like to follow Jesus and live a full Christian life as God desires us to do. We imitate Jesus by coming into the inner desert of our souls; to encounter this with God, since the desert was a place where our ancient Fathers encountered and built up their deep intimacy with God, the Super Being.   

Jesus was also led into the desert by the Holy Spirit to pray, fast and even to be tempted (Luke 4:1).  The Church is calling us to come into the desert of our inner selves to journey with Jesus for forty days and nights during the Lenten season. 

Prayer Experience:

Imagine yourself stranded in the desert. The desert is not a pleasant and comfortable place in which  to live, except when there is clean air and a tranquil atmosphere. To live in the desert means to come face-to-face with obstacles, difficulties, and even death. Everything in the desert seems so dry, hard and flat. How would you feel? What would happen to you? How would you survive?

You would probably feel very hot, hungry, thirsty, powerless, hopeless and lonely. We were so tired and exhausted. Our feet seemed to be on fire from the 120-degree heat in the desert. There was no food, no drink. Even if we had money and a diamond ring, we would not be able to exchange them for a piece of bread or a drop of water to fill our empty stomachs.  Any gold rings, jewelry, money and other valuable possessions seem meaningless. Life seems to be coming to an end.  The heat, dry sand, sharp stones, and the broken vases are scattered all around us. Looking up we could see only a hot, beaming sun; looking down we could see rocks and sand.

These images may stimulate a strong sense of dependency on God more than ever. The fear of death is overwhelming and it makes us cling to God, who is the source of life . . . our Savior. God is our ultimate goal in life. If there is no God, life is meaningless.

Being in the desert for forty days and forty nights seems to be a long period of time. Jesus felt hungry, thirsty and was even tempted by the devil. We are too. We may feel hungry for God’s love, but be tempted by negative attitudes, impatience, disappointment and despair. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert not without purpose and meaning, but to prepare for His ministry and His great mission on earth. He did not want to escape people, nor to avoid His disciples, but to spend His time encountering His Heavenly Father.  Following Christ’s example, so must we. We must take time to be away from our busy schedules, noisy world so we too can recharge our energy to pray and serve God. So the Church advises us to spend extra time to pray and to be present with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist; to adore and love Him and ask Him to give us the grace to recharge our batteries and to reexamine our meaning of life on the way to imitating Jesus.

In the depths of our inner desert, the tranquility of our inner self would help us to hear God’s voice, where there is no worldly noise that would distract us or pull us away from Him. We are coming into the inner desert of our own souls in order to listen to the voice of St. John the Baptist who was in the desert to proclaim: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. (Matthew 3:2).

  • What are the vices from which we need to purge in order to mend your relationship with God, others, and self?

  • What are the virtues you feel invited to live in order to strengthen how you relate to God, others, and self?

We need to spend time and place ourselves in the presence of God, to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, and ask Him for His grace to discover the valuable spiritual benefits of our spiritual desert where God is dwelling.

Let us pray and ask God for His grace to experience the sweetness of silent moments.

Lord, help us to fast and pray.   

May we fast from the negative judgment and thinking. Transform us to be more like Jesus Christ. 

May we fast from complaining and frustration, but be content and appreciate who we are and what we have.    


May we fast from condemning other’s weaknesses and faults, but have compassion and forgiveness.         

May we fast from negative actions of envy and anger, but exercise charitable acts as Jesus commanded. 

May we fast from sinning, but repent like the prodigal son who returned to his father’s home.   

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.


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