“During Lent, we prepare to relive the Paschal Mystery, which sheds the light of hope upon the whole of our existence, even its most complex and painful aspects.”
Saint Pope John Paul II
With the compounding effects of the stress of work, the winter weather, Peter’s treatment and the effect on our entire family, I began the Lentiest-feeling Lent I've ever had in my entire life. Sending out this Sunday’s Gospel earlier in the week in preparation for my men’s group, I became fixated on the first line: "The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert." My severely limited Scriptural expertise never picked up on the fact that Jesus was driven to the desert. "What the heck. Why would He be driven there?" I quickly realized I wasn’t really asking about Jesus. I was asking why I had been driven into this desert in my life. The tears that have been flowing more freely these days continued, but they changed. They were now angry tears. My pastor had sent me a text checking in on me last week and I finally responded asking if I could talk to him. Like a good shepherd, he told me to come right over and I let the tears and the anger out with him. "You keep asking why, Dan, and that’s normal and fine. Maybe also try a request – God show me where you are in this." When I came home, I grabbed the mail which included a giant envelope for Peter and our family. Inside were about 30 valentines, slightly delayed due to the winter weather, decorated by kids from the other side of Pennsylvania who we have never met, each promising a rosary would be said for us. I looked at the Gospel from that morning again, "and the angels ministered to him."
How often in my life and leadership do I want to know why, and forget to ask where? How might I see the path more clearly if I turned on my "God Positioning Satellite" and searched for Him, instead of searching for a way out? The desert might be snow or cancer and the wild beasts might be emails or deadlines, but God remains the same. God remains faithful. God remains the constant. What desert do you find yourself in this Lent? Which wild beasts are causing you the most fear? Who are the angels ministering to you? If 40 days feels like a long time, are you looking for the reason why, or are you searching for the one and only Answer? Prayers for your journey this Lent.