Are you ready to enter the desert? Lent begins a week from tomorrow. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert in preparation for His Passion and Death and now it’s our turn to enter the desert to prepare ourselves for that same sacrifice.
I’m sure Jesus didn’t pack for His time in the desert. He probably just up and went. But, unlike Jesus, I’m not God. (I hope I didn’t shock anyone with that revelation.) And if I’m going to have a fruitful Lent, I need to prepare for my time in the desert.
Here are some spiritual tools that I’m taking into the desert to help me get through the next 40 days.
- The Bible-duh, right? If I’m going to be in the desert, I need some company and the Word of God is the best way that God can talk to me and guide me.
- The Catechism-If you haven’t picked up a Catechism before, now is the time. Don’t just read it, though. Pray with it. A good friend of mine has written a book about how to pray using the Bible and Catechism together. He calls it Duel Wielding. Check it out.
- The Better Part & Sacred Space– both of these are books to help you meditate on Scripture. The Better Part by Fr John Bartunek is a guide to Christian Meditation (as opposed to Eastern religion’s style of meditation) and allows you to pick any of the Gospels in whatever order you feel called to read them in. Sacred Space by the Irish Jesuits has a daily devotional format based on that day’s Mass readings. You just turn to the reading for the day and spend time reading and reflecting on God’s Word.
- Music for the Journey-I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with enrichment from all the senses and music can really affect you spiritually and emotionally. Right now I’m listening to a lot of Matt Maher’s All The People Said Amen album as well as the up and coming Catholic recording artist, Katie Blythe. She has a beautiful voice and music that’s not formulaic like some in this genre can be.
- A Clear Calendar-I know what you’re thinking-“Laura, I can’t stop the world just because it’s Lent! I have things to do!” Yes, I know. Take a deep breath…don’t panic….What I mean is: this is not the time to start new obligations and add unnecessary things to your calendar. Try your best to avoid “calendar clutter.” Instead, block out hours, evenings, or even a whole day if possible to slow down and be with God. Maybe that means spending time at Adoration or Daily Mass. Maybe it means getting to know Him through spending time in His Creation. Maybe it means unplugging and just being with your family. It’s your call. If you DO add things to your calendar, choose from the many Lenten opportunities at your parish or within your Diocese to take part in. Fill your time with God one way or another.
That’s my packing list. I’d love to hear about yours. What are you bringing with you into the desert?
Copyright 2016 Laura B Nelson
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