Lent awakens a pilgrimage in daily life. We veer from Ordinary Time and begin this journey sealed with ashes on our forehead. The outward sign of our faith. And our humanity; “remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Do not bring too much on the journey. It is best to leave behind any worldly pleasure that might hold us back from fully appreciating the forty-day journey; remembering why we are here.
As we enter this solemn time we can take solace in Jesus’ example. “Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days” (Luke 4:1-2).
Imagine. Forty days. The gritty sand chaffing between the toes. Sand caked on the skin toasted by the fiery sun. Slacked with thirst. The tongue heavy in the mouth yearning for any small drop of water. Not a soul in sight. No other movement than the shifting and blowing of sand, small critters scattering across the dunes, and the shifting of the sun across the horizon. No doubt dry spells of desolation invade whatever oasis found through prayer and scripture.
Jesus fended off Satan’s temptations of worldly allure. He encourages us through His battle with Satan. We do not live on bread alone, but on the Word of God. We shall worship God alone and not be led astray by worldly pleasures. We shall not test our God but have full faith in Him.
Let us find encouragement and strength through Him as we enter the desert through Lent. Onward pilgrim.