The last time I blogged I was on the road in Ames Iowa directing a retreat at Iowa State University. Actually, that was several weeks ago. Obviously, I am behind in my reflections. It reminds me of my experience seeing the desert for the first time. I was in Tucson Ariz. and it was December. There were desert flowers of quite stunning beauty. That made the difference for me as the desert itself was barren.
These past few weeks have been far from barren. I have had many flowers around me. However, I must admit my writing has been barren!!! Well, that is not such a bad thing, really. Jesus went out to the desert numerous times to catch up on his praying, quiet and stillness…that which refreshed him to return to the demanding disciples and the crowds. It was also in the desert where Jesus could confront worldly temptations through his prayerful strength and trust in his Father.
As I look out the window these days, it is a desert except we have more rain!!! The starkness of winter is approaching…barren trees, browning lawns and grayish atmosphere. Yet, across from my office are lush green bushes that seem to have appeared this week. Several of the Sisters have noticed them. The flower in the desert..I think. It reminds us that life grows and gleams despite the barren world and wintry days. It is all part of the cycle of seasons. It is all part of the cycle of Paschal Mystery that we engage in in our spiritual journeys.
I strikes me that desert days are not really barren, dry or troublesome. Desert days are refreshing as they were for Jesus, as they are for flowers and as they can be for us. In fact, we see things more clearly due to the desert. The bushes across from my office would not be seen in a flourishing woods but stand out in the winter woods.
As our season moves closer to winter – look around at the desert and see what is there that otherwise you might miss. Same goes for your prayer life. What do you recognize from prayer that otherwise you might miss?