The Wilderness of our Hearts
One of my most favorite places in the world is a place called Resica Falls Scout Reservation. I would go there every summer with my Scout troop when I was a young man for our summer camp trip. I loved it so much that I went on to be a counselor and spent two entire summers there. I would go for walks by myself looking for wildlife, turning over stones and watching the little critters scramble to safety. Sometimes I would find a log or stone to sit on and listen to the sounds of the forest. Out in the wilderness, the sounds of the regular world are gone. Sitting in the rhythm of the sounds, there was tranquility which is hard to describe, but what I can describe is how easy it is to hear something that is different then the other sounds around you. You can hardly ignore it because it makes you extremely aware that something is different. A sound found in the wilderness is the same out of the ordinary sound from those around us, which John the Baptist describes as the call from the wilderness. The difference is this sound can be found in the wilderness of our hearts.
How can we find the wilderness of our hearts? One thing we can do is use the life of the Saints and martyrs as an example. When reflecting on their lives, we can see that not everything in their lives was always good, but they still found faith, hope, and love. Another place we can find faith, hope, and love is in our scripture reading today. The reading from Baruch was written while Israel was in captivity in Babylon. They found themselves defeated, taken from their homes, and unable to worship their God openly, but they were able to find these virtues while in extreme distress. Another example is found in Paul’s letter today. It is hard to believe that this wonderful encouraging letter was written by Paul while imprisoned. They all have retreated to the wilderness of their hearts where they can find our Lord waiting there to comfort, console, and at times instruct. During this time of Advent, we need to also retreat to the wilderness of our hearts. Listen to the voice in your heart that calls you to repentance and preparation for Christ. Our hearts are through where He will enter our lives. Spend some time there.
May Jesus live in our hearts forever.