Our inability to travel, either near or far, has been one of the more difficult hardships experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most of us haven’t had an opportunity for geographic travel this past year, the current season of Lent offers us a travel opportunity of a different sort and in a different direction – inward.
If you think that such an inward journey sounds desirable or necessary, then the following suggestions just might make your trip easier and possibly even more beneficial. Bon voyage!
We don’t take time to stand still and
listen to the voice of God within ourselves.
We are afraid of being alone with ourselves.
We have forgotten that we are never alone.
We may leave God out of our lives,
but God does not leave us out.
Catherine de Hueck Doherty in The Gospel Without Compromise
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD,
for the LORD is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind,
so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces
before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind;
and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
1 Kings 19
If we attack the spiritual life like all our other tasks – if we go at it with enthusiasm, skills, and self-drive – then we’ll run into problems, boredom, and back-sliding. Eventually we’ll try taking even more control – trying to avoid the inevitable inward journey with its own empty spaces, silence, and demons. And although we might try controlling the inner demons through distractions, intellectualizing, and externalizing the problem – in the end we must give up and let go. For the way to GOD is through the desert, just as the only way from Egypt, and the Land of Idols, to the Promised Land was straight through the desert.
Paul Marceau (Holy Cross Novice Master, 1982)