Sunday, March 13, 2011

“Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert ...”

On September 23, 2002, I wrote the following entry:

It has become necessary to be away from publishing for forty days. But I shall return. Stay tuned ...

(Notice the lack of fanfare. Now then ...)

As the Prophets of old wandered into the desert to be alone with God, as His Son our Lord began His earthly mission in the same way, as did the early Church fathers dating to the fifth century -- the ancient tradition of leaving the noise of the world behind, if only for a respite, is the message of the Gospel today, in both the Western and Eastern church, for the first Sunday of Lent. Thus we learn how any penance should begin: alone before our Maker. At that time almost nine years ago, I didn't write anything in this journal for the entire time in question. Considering the circumstances, which have long since passed, it was the right thing to do.

As a boy, I would take to my bicycle after school, to wander aimlessly the streets of the village where I grew up. The sun would begin to set, and I would know it was time to return. In the aftermath of my wife leaving me in 1990, I would take to the highway for a weekend every four to six weeks. Maybe there was a folk dance weekend in Pittsburgh, or a farm in eastern Ohio where people were camping and playing music. It was an escape.

But sooner or later, we must return from the desert, to face the reality of life, and our obligations. We are prepared for that return, depending upon the manner in which we left, don't you think?

Or don't you?

No comments: