The desert of our interior lives.

Sunday, March 6th 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

And so, we have begun the holy – and for some, the daunting – season of Lent. This is the season in our liturgical year when the Church encourages us to increase our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to help us enter more deeply into the mystery of our Lord’s Passion and Death and to celebrate more fully His Resurrection.

Jesus, by His own example in today’s Gospel, demonstrates the necessity of setting aside a period devoted especially to prayer and fasting as a means of strengthening our spiritual muscles. Just before the launch of His public ministry, Jesus was “led by the Holy Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.” In imitation of Jesus, we should ask the Holy Spirit to lead us into the desert too — the desert of our interior lives where our thoughts and desires reside.

While our Lord was strong enough to withstand the temptations of the devil on His own, we most certainly are not! We must turn to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to show us where we need to grow, and then rely on the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance throughout these 40 days of growth. Perhaps we will be led to take on a spiritual reading program, or a daily time of meditation on the Scriptures. Maybe we’ll be inspired to fast from our favorite food or social media fix and find a project that serves the poor in this community. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul at Saint Joachim Church is a good place to begin.

If these spiritual exercises hurt a little, that means we are doing them right! I suggest that we do not give until it hurts but to give until it feels good! At the end of this season, we will be prepared to enter into the grace-filled days of the Triduum (the three days), and we will, through the power of the Holy Spirit, be resurrected as a new creation with our Lord come Easter. So, let us begin!