During this Season of Lent, we hear the Holy Word about Jesus spending time in silence, prayer, soul searching and listening to the will of His Father. The emptiness of the desert can be seen as being a physical symbol for the spiritual emptiness, sense of void, even the spiritual poverty so often discovered within the sacred, precious and holy chamber of the human heart. All throughout one’s life, we both hear about others, and we ourselves sometimes experience our own sense of a wounded heart. Our one common frail and imperfect human condition include both the tears of a broken heart and the joyful realizations which can be understood, treasured and stored away with fond memories within the deep chambers of our human heart.
What Jesus probably discovered during those 40 days in the desert was that God in His infinite love was always in the company of His one solitary Holy Child. Likewise, when you, me, or others might experience a deep and seemingly endless emptiness, maybe a real lack of understanding, or even serious suffering…well, it is at such times when we experience a spiritual thirst as we journey amid our own heartfelt desert. We look around both outside and within and we see nothing, not even another person in our midst. What do we do? How do we approach these moments and events which life can toss at us? Is it the dark night of the soul? It is there amid that burdensome spiritual darkness or despair in which we can re-discover our Crucified Lord Jesus Christ. But! The Cross is NOT the final step.
We respond at these times of spiritual darkness with the simplicity and trust of a child, and the wisdom of a more seasoned older and wiser disciple of Christ. In these times when despair seems to prevail, when doubts outweigh knowledge, and when emptiness seems to fill up much of each passing day; here is the time when we, like a simple child, willingly recognize that our own life is indeed a pure and unearned gift from God. Here we seek greater prayer. We seek silence and, in that silence, even amid our tears, we pray, and pray more; and we LISTEN in our despair.
This moment, this time in our life is a symbol of Christ’s 40 Days in the desert as He prepared Himself for what lied ahead for Him. Wait not for the dark night of the soul to settle within you. Rather, now, at this moment, bow your head in a spirit of humility and ask our dear Lord to always remain with you, to walk in your company, and when necessary to pick you up and carry you through the dark hours. In heartfelt prayer, wonder and you will find wisdom. Pray and you will see God. Do this in the Holy Name of our Savior Jesus Christ. AMEN.
-Father Michael Briese