Traditional Catholic Lenten Silence in The Desert

Why did Jesus spend His 40 days of lent in the desert?  There were many reasons Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the desert.  He went to be totally alone in nothingness where no one would be distracting Him from prayer by talking to Him.  The desert can be dead silent.  The desert is a beautiful place while at the same time filled with scorpions and rattle snakes.  Devils are know to wander about in barren places.

Thorns_crowing of_VALENTIN DE BOULOGNELent is a time for us to grow closer to God by listening to Him.  In a world full of talking, TV, music and ringing phones, it is of utmost importance to go into SILENCE.  We can not hear God with all the other voices screaming.  We open the Bible and let God’s words speak to us.

In the silence of the lenten desert, we will be force to listen to our own heart that tells us that we are longing for something more than the carnal pleasures we indulge in everyday.  Our inner voice will ask us to evaluate our lives because there is an underlying uneasiness.  It even may say, “This life has no real meaning” the way I am working, studying and living.

Crucifix_St Jerome in the Desert_detail_MANSUETI, GiovanniIn quiet aloneness, our sensual passions will scream even louder, demanding pleasure while at the same time complaining against any restraint or penance.  In the noise and distractions of the world, we fail to even notice these commands coming all the time from our flesh, the music, our friends and the devil.  We tend to just go along with them as if they are normal we are to obey to be able to reach so called “happiness” through self indulgence and pleasures.

Then you can get down on your knees alone to beg for forgiveness and the strength to fight these temptations.  And it will not be easy.  It was not easy for Jesus either.

Another way of practicing Lenten Silence is by controlling our tongues.  Even when we are not alone out in the desert, we can create a sense of silence by guarding our tongue and the words we speak.  There is a joy in refraining from idle chatter that gets us no where and can lead to gossip.  We weigh ever word cautiously before it come out of our mouths.

Jesus and Mary are teachers of silence.  Mary lived a recollected life in a quiet contemplative way.  She kept her heart centered on God and so was able to focus on her ordinary duties in a prayerful way.

Each one of us should plan one day in the silence of the desert this lent.  We can go to a retreat house, a chapel, a park or an empty house somewhere.  What to do:

1) Set a definite day soon before Easter.

2) Pack up a little food.

3) Take the Bible.

4) Bring the Holy Rosary.

5) Choose a good spiritual book to read.

In this “silent desert day” there needs to be empty quiet time scheduled in take time to reflect and listen to the Voice of God.  The devil will do everything he can to keep you from getting away for this quiet day with God.  But, as Jesus did, let the Holy Spirit lead you, and do not let the evil spirit restrain you.

Franciscan in prayer_Woodcut Ink PrintIt is much better if we do this alone.  But you could do it with someone else or a group as long as you all keep to yourselves and live the day to be alone with God, not to talk to friends.  It is so good to be a traditional Catholic and to take time off and away for God.