Thought of the day
12/9/2018 6:14:08 AM

"Let the desert and dry land exult ; let the steppe rejoice and bloom" (Is 35:1)


"The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord." Before anything else I think we should consider the grace of the desert, the blessedness of the desert, which right from the beginning of grace has deserved to be consecrated to the repose of the saints. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, John preaching and bestowing the baptism of repentance in the desert, certainly consecrated for us his dwelling-place in the wilderness. Yet even before him the solitude had always been dearly loved by the holiest of the prophets as a place where they could listen to the Holy Spirit (cf. 1Kgs. 17:2ff.; 19:3ff.). But a far greater and more divine grace came to the desert to sanctify it when Jesus took the place of John (Mt 4:1)... For forty days while he was living in the wilderness, purifying it and dedicating it as a new place for the new life; he conquered the tyrant who brooded there... not so much for himself as for those who would be its future inhabitants... Wait there, in the solitude, for the One who will save you "from pusillanimity of spirit and the storm" (Ps 55[54]:9). However much the storm of battles may assail you, however much you may feel the lack even of sustenance in the desert, do not because of pusillanimity of spirit return in mind to Egypt. The desert will feed you more abundantly with manna... Jesus himself fasted indeed in the wilderness but the multitude that followed him into the desert he fed often and in a wonderful manner... When you think Jesus has forgotten you for rather too long, he himself, not unmindful of his goodness, will console you and say to you: "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness" (Jer 2:2). Then will he make your wilderness like the garden of delight, and you yourself will confess that “the glory of Lebanon has been given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon” (Is 35:2)... so that, from the fullness of your heart, you will sing a hymn of praise, saying: "Let them praise the Lord for his mercy, for his wonderful works to the sons of men, for he satisfied him who is thirsty and the hungry he filled with good things” (Ps 107[106]:8-9).