Desert Tale

Desert dunes sand in milky way stars night sky

Today, on the first Sunday of Lent, we have been thinking of when the Holy Spirit sent Jesus into the Desert. He was alone with His Father for 40 days and 40 nights. During this time he fasted and spent time in conversation (prayer) and silence with His Father.
His faith and resolve was also tested and he endured Three Temptations by Satan who offered him ways to become a dominant power in the world but enslaved to Satan. Temptations which were resisted and dismissed by Jesus

In Lent we are encouraged to spend time in prayer and stillness with God. Through this our hearts are made more pure, our faith more resistant to temption and our love for God more rich. The richness of such love is refined in the way we behave towards others.

So here’s a Desert Tale to help us to think a little more about this.

In his book, Letters from the Desert, The Little Brother of Jesus, Carlo Carretto tells of a journey in the Sahara that he made soon after becoming a monk.
He arrived at a place just as the sun was setting and the temperature plummeted.
It is a fact that the Sahara is known as a ‘cold country where it is very hot in the sun’ and because of this he carried two blankets.

He arrived at a village where he noticed an old man shivering with cold.
Carlo thought that he should give the old man one of his blankets but he thought of the night ahead and the cold that was descending. He knew that he really ought to have given the old man a blanket but when he drove off in his jeep the blankets were still with him.
Eventually he made camp under a great rock that would give him shelter from the wind.
He wrapped himself in both his blankets and eventually he fell asleep.

And he had a dream. He dreamt that he was lying under the very rock he had camped under. In the dream the rock moved and a great boulder fell on top of him. It did not kill him but he was no longer able to move his body.
He opened his eyes  and saw the old man shivering before him. Now, he didn’t hesitate, The blanket was no longer any use to him so he tried to stretch out his hand to offer the blanket but the stone made even the smallest movement impossible. The blanket mocked him and reminded him of his lack of charity.

He wondered how long he might have to remain under the rock and God then spoke to his heart: 
” Until you are capable of an act of perfect love.”

Heavenly Father,
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

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