This Joyful, Silent Season
The Bible tells us two things about the desert: that it is dangerous (Mark’s Gospel says Jesus was surrounded by wild animals) and that it’s a place where we can hear the voice of God. The Gospel of Mark describes the prophetic voice as “crying out in the wilderness.” Of course, the wilderness does not have to be a place; it can also be a time. Lent is the season when we are invited to a more austere way of living, and the purpose of this austerity is to make us more alert to the presence of God.In the desert we wait and we listen.
Lent is not a time for talking. We should be obedient to the opening line of the Rule of Benedict: Listen! In the Byzantine liturgy, the deacon cries out before the reading from Scripture: “Wisdom! Let us be attentive!” In our Lenten desert one good form of asceticism might be to do less texting and web surfing, to become less distracted and more attentive to what matters most. In that silence, we find the deepest form of prayer. “Be still and know that I am God,” says the psalmist.
So, in keeping with Larry’s sage counsel …