Trevor Herriot, Canadian author and naturalist once wrote: “It is only after the desert has done its work on us, that an angel can come and strengthen us.” The reference is to Christ’s temptation in the desert when after 40 days the angels of God came to minister to him.
We are about to enter our own desert experience, the season of Lent. It is 40 days (not counting Sundays) of self-examination, penance, fasting and self-sacrifice. Following this period we enter Holy Week and the joy of Easter.
All too often we cheat ourselves of Easter’s joy by not fully entering into the desert, so I want to encourage you to embrace Lent. The three disciplines of fasting, prayer, and giving of alms are a good way to start.
There will be many opportunities on our campus to deepen your Lenten experience. The Center for Campus Ministry will offer a silent retreat in February as well as days of reflection in March. Our student chapter of Catholic Relief Services will distribute boxes in February in which you can place your spare change for 40 days to help relieve the suffering of others and so promote the Common Good. Simple meals and meatless Fridays are another way to enter this desert experience. The extent that we let the desert do “its work on us” will be the extent to which we experience the joy of Easter on April 1st.
Fr. Larry Blake
Chaplain and Director, Campus Ministry