Spiritual Reflection 2/18/2024

The Wilderness

A very, very long time ago back when I was still scouting, I earned the merit badge of Wilderness Survival. I trained for about a week learning the skills that I would need if I ever found myself in the wilderness without any food or shelter. I was taught how to make a shelter, how to find food, and make a fire – all with limited resources. I was taught the importance of hygiene, avoiding injuries, and many other things that I could possibly face while in the wilderness. As is the Boy Scout way, I was taught to be prepared to tackle any task or obstacle that may arise. After a week of training, I was teamed up with another boy and I had to go out to the woods and stay for two days and two nights with only a knife and a fire-starting kit. I earned the merit badge, but I will tell you that I went home hungry and cold. My success only came from the training that I received. The preparation for the task was actually more important than the task itself. 

During Lent, we are asked to walk out into the wilderness with Christ. It is through our own preparation that we will be successful for the next 40 days and ready for the Kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert. We now see the very same Spirit who gave life to Jesus in Mary and who descended upon Jesus in His baptism, driving Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan and surrounded by beasts for 40 days. It is that same Spirit that drives us out into the wilderness of Lent. 

Jesus’ experience with the “wilderness” and “beasts” is a metaphor for the chaos and obstacles that impede us as we stumble through life, bearing our burdens. It is during Lent that we are called to remember scripture and prayer to get us through. We know this to be true because this is the very thing that Christ did during his time in the wilderness.

Lent is not meant to be easy. It is meant to temper and strengthen us in our faith. Lent prepares us for the very proclamation the world has been waiting for and fulfilled through Christ Himself.

The Kingdom of God is here!

May Jesus live in our hearts forever!

Deacon Chris