I grew up in the Arizona desert. When I heard that Jesus went into the desert for 40 days, I imagined him in the mountains behind my house amongst the cacti. I eventually learned that the desert of the Holy Land is slightly different. But even now with that intellectual knowledge, I have found the Sonoran desert to have many Lenten lessons for me. Many people think that the desert is just hot, dry, and brown—something I’ve heard over the years as I’ve lived other places. However, even in the scorching sun, the desert blooms, too.
I was thinking about the invitation to go into the desert for Lent. So often in times of spiritual dryness, we think that nothing can come of it, nothing can come of us. We feel abandoned or left out to shrivel. But if God made flowers blossom out of cacti, can’t we believe that God can make goodness bloom from our desert, too?
Maybe this year as we move through the season of Lent, we can ask God to help us see the bustling life around us. We take only the necessities into the desert—lots of water, sunscreen, and a sun hat. And we ask God to open our eyes to see the gecko scurrying in the shade, to open our ears to hear the chirping of the cactus wren, to quiet the chatter of our minds to feel the warmth of the sun. In this practice, we can begin to see God in the kindness of a stranger holding the door for us at the grocery store, in the migrant family who needs clothing for their children, in the dishes that need to be washed once again.
In what can feel like desolation and loneliness, may we know that God’s love blossoms there, too.
You can download our free Lenten Seasonal Guide here.
Don't know what to do for Lent? You don't have to overthink it! There are 3 pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. Here are some simple ideas:
1. Write one thing you’re grateful for everyday
2. Say one “Hail Mary” before bed
3. Listen to Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer every day
4. Set a timer to sit in silence for one minute each day
1. Apologizing for everything
2. Beating yourself up if your day didn’t go as planned
3. Watching TV with dark/overly intense imagery
4. Music, podcasts, or audiobooks in the car (allowing for more silence)
5. Avoiding your emotions
6. Inessential spending
1. Drinking more water
2. Reading a book before bed (instead of phone scrolling)
3. Incorporating a new health practice that will make your body feel good (eat more vegetables, take baths more frequently, etc.)
4. Taking a walk everyday
1. Every week, send a heartfelt affirmation text to a friend (Bonus: if it’s a handwritten card)
2. Donate $1/week to an organization you love
3. Send a Grubhub gift card or Venmo to a struggling friend
4. Buy one box of extra protein bars to keep in your car to give to a person in need