Advent and The Desert


#1

I just recently returned from a short video and discussion concerning Advent at the parish located here in downtown. The video was “Hope in the Darkness” presented by Fr. Michael Himes, for those who may need some reference point for what I’m talking about.

Without going into incredible detail about the entire video which is rather complex, exploring Augustine’s and W.H. Auden’s theological viewpoints on communication, time, hope, and expectation, I was definitely struck by one line from Auden’s poem entitled “For The Time Being”:

Nothing can save us that is possible

This particular line is chock full of meaning – even isolated from its immediate context – and is especially relevant here during Advent. Just think about it: the birth of Christ, God in the flesh, is God’s impossible possibility for all of us. And *we *know, looking back from *after *the birth of Christ, that this miracle will happen again: Christ will come again.

The point which Fr. Himes made during the course of his discussion was that our finances, our families, our friends, our cars, our careers, not even our churches will save us: it is only Christ who saves us. And only when we recognize that all these others things lead us into the desert where we thirst and seek for the eternal water will we ultimately come to Christ with open hearts.

I find this especially relevant in my own life as I have continually tried and sometimes still try to formulate my identity as someone who drives a red Toyota Camry, as a Catholic, as someone who likes specific style of music or singer, who prefers such style of interior design, etc. However, I’m also starting to see how empty all of these things ultimately are, how bored I get with owning something, how it becomes necessary to consume something additional again and again, and how nothing satisfies me like standing outside on a clear night and staring straight into the heavens…wondering…praying…hoping. Once, when St. Francis was travelling, it was pouring down rain, and at a certain point he dismounted the mule he was riding and stood for a very long time in prayer. When he finished, he spoke of how the soul needed its refreshment in God the same way that the body needs its refreshment in food, drink, and sleep.

When I think of that single line from Auden’s poem, my soul cannot help but echo the words of Zechariah:
*
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. *


#2

Many of the saints have said the same thing – empty yourself completely and there God will dwell. When we tie ourselves down and fill ourselves up with the things of this world then the less room, if any, we leave for God to dwell in us and to be one with us.

Perhaps the desert IS the answer to stripping ourselves of everything.


#3

Desert, a place far away from the colorful world and a place without much scenery is a place of purification.

It is supposed to be a quiet place where one can honestly face his naked self, with no cover-up or excuses.  

When we talk about “in the desert”, we often refer it to one’s spiritual dryness. It surely could be. However, to my personal experience, while being in the desert, it also is an opportunity of enlightenment and sanctification. If one is willing to be responsive and cooperative with God’s grace, the desert actively becomes the ground of spiritual progress. And one is not necessarily suffering from spiritual dryness.  It actually can be a very rich occasion.  I used to be afraid of desert experience, but not any more.  

When Jesus came out of the desert, he was ready for his public ministry. When we are led into the desert and come out, we get closer to God, if we followed His lead. Advent is a good time to reflect on our walk with the Lord during this past year, and invite Him to lead us to the place He want us to be.


#4

Spend some time in the silent, lonely and remote regions of Death Valley in California and you will find the richness the desert provides your soul.


#5

I live in the desert and it fills my soul.


#6

The physical desert could be a beautiful and fulfilling place.
What I talked about in my post above is the spiritual desert.
I am sure you know that, just to mention.


#7

Yes, I do know that, but of all the places I have ever been, the desert is where I find rest.


#8

And those great monastic Desert Fathers came from… well, they came from the desert! :slight_smile:


#9

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

**Devoting all I can to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary **
Blessed be God through Mary for revealing himself to you and enabling you to have the graces needed to praise him.
Yes *Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. * AMEN!!!

Free information on devoting oneself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary:
Online Adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament louisville-catholic.net/WebCameras/AdorationChapel/tabid/825/Default.aspx
True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin montfort.org.uk/Writings/TrueDev.html
**Secret of the Rosary ** montfort.org.uk/Writings/Rosary.html
Preparation for 33 day consecration to the Blessed Virgin saintlouisdemontfort.com/consecration.cfm
Reflections on True Devotion to Mary by His Holiness Pope John Paul II http://www.michaeljournal.org/montfort.htm
**The Glories of Mary, ** by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, one of the 33 Doctors of the Catholic Church, explains Hail Holy Queen http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/glories.htm
On the Dolors of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, one of the 33 Doctors of the Catholic Church, explains the sufferings of Our Lady http://writer.zoho.com/public/immaculate/Seven-dolors
Marialis Cultus (Apostolic Exhortation for the Right Ordering and Development of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of His Holiness, February 2, 1974 by His Holiness Pope Paul VI ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6MARIAL.HTM
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus en.wikisource.org/wiki/Devotion_to_the_Sacred_Heart_of_Jesus#FIRST_POINT._.E2.80.94_The_ardent_desire_Jesus_Christ_feels_to_be_with_us.
Divine Mercy Chaplet ewtn.com/Devotionals/mercy/dmmap.htm
Rosary Confraternity Enrollment rosary-center.org/nconform.htm (As Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical on the Confraternity, *“Whenever a person fulfills his obligation of reciting the Rosary according to the rule of the Confraternity, he includes in his intentions all its members and they render him the same service many times over.” * Each member includes deceased fellow members as well; and thus he knows that in turn he will be included in the prayers of hundreds of thousands both now and hereafter.
Cathechism of the Catholic Church vatican.va/archive/catechism/ccc_toc.htm
Litany of Humility ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/humility.htm
St. Faustina’s Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul http://www.saint-faustina.com/Diary/DMIMS1.shtml

Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.