A Lenten reflection by Sr Dympna Mc Eneaney OLA

St Luke tells us that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert.

When I was in Niger I spent some days with the Little Sisters of Jesus – a group inspired by the life of Charles de Foucauld.

Here are a few lines from a reflection I wrote during my visit:

The desert has it’s  beauty,
space, dazzling white sands,
starry skies,
a moon that bewitches everything
sand that is soft to lie on,
evenings that bring calm and coolness
after the heat of the day,
solitude that brings life.

Solitude brings but it also forces us to face ourselves – our regrets, guilt and fears.

Jesus was alone and hungry in the desert for 40 days. Did he have doubts about who he was, about his mission? Was he afraid?

He was tested in three ways, to satisfy his hunger, to show his power and authority and to work wonders. He prayed and his relationship with his Father  remained strong. He accepted the mission entrusted to him.

As we prepare to enter our Lenten ‘desert’, how do we feel? 

In the past Lent was a time of fasting and penance. Social activities such as weddings and dances were not allowed. There was a lot of  emphasis  on  giving things up.  Nowadays lent can pass almost unnoticed. 

The tradition of fasting is also part of the month of Ramadan, celebrated by the Muslim community, and is practiced by people of many different faiths around the world.  Fasting reminds us of those less fortunate and reinforces our need to be thankful.

May we be  led by the Spirit this Lent and may our hearts, eyes and ears be open and attentive to the people around us and to the whole of Creation.