Father Cantalamessa on Creating 'a Bit of Desert'
Lenten Commentary on This Sunday's Gospel Passage
ROME, MARCH 4, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, Pontifical Household preacher, on the Gospel of the first Sunday of Lent.
* * *
First Sunday of Lent (cycle B)
(Genesis 9:8-15; Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:12-15)
With Jesus in the Desert
Let us concentrate on the first phrase of the Gospel: "The Spirit drove Jesus to the desert." It contains an important appeal at the beginning of Lent. Jesus had just received the messianic investiture in the Jordan, to take the Good News to the poor, heal afflicted hearts, preach the Kingdom. But he is not in haste to do any of these things. On the contrary, obeying an impulse of the Holy Spirit, he withdraws to the desert where he remains for 40 days, fasting, praying, meditating and struggling. All this in profound solitude and silence.
There have been in history legions of men and women who have chosen to imitate Jesus in his withdrawal to the desert. In the East, beginning with St. Anthony Abbot, they withdrew to the deserts of Egypt or Palestine; in the West, where there was no deserts of sand, they withdrew to solitary places, remote mountains and valleys.
But the invitation to follow Jesus in the desert is addressed to all. Monks and hermits chose a site in the desert; we must at least choose a time in the desert. To spend some time in the desert means to empty ourselves and be immersed in silence, rediscover the way of our heart, remove ourselves from the exterior racket and pressures to come into contact with the most profound sources of our being.
Well lived, Lent is a kind of cure of the poisoning of the soul. In fact, there is not only the contamination of carbon monoxide; there is also acoustic and luminous contamination. We are all somewhat inebriated with noise and externals. Man sends his waves to the periphery of the solar system, but in the majority of cases ignores what is in his own heart. To escape, to relax, to amuse oneself -- are words that mean to come out of oneself, to remove oneself from reality.
There are "escape" shows (the TV provides them in avalanche), "escape" literature. They are called, significantly, fiction. We prefer to live in fiction than in reality. Today there is much talk of "aliens," but aliens or alienated we already are by our own doing in our own planet, without the need of others coming from outside.
Young people are the most exposed to this inebriation with noise. "Let heavier work be laid upon the men that they may labor at it," Pharaoh said to his taskmasters, "and not listen to the words of Moses and not think of breaking out of slavery" (Exodus 5:9). Today's "Pharaohs" say, in a more tacit but no less peremptory way: "Increase the racket over these young people, so that they will be reckless and not think, not decide on their own, but follow the fashion, buy what we want them to buy, and consume the products we tell them to."
What can we do? Being unable to go to the desert, we must create a bit of desert within ourselves. In this regard, St. Francis of Assisi gives us a practical suggestion. "We have," he said, "a hermitage always with us; wherever we go and whenever we wish it we can enclose ourselves in it as hermits. The hermitage is our body and the soul is the hermit within!" We can go into this "portable" hermitage without being seen by anyone, even while we are traveling on a very crowded bus. It all consists in knowing how to "go into ourselves" every now and then.
May the Spirit that "drove Jesus to the desert" lead us also, help us in the struggle against evil and prepare us to celebrate Easter renewed in the spirit!
http://www.catholic.org CA, VA
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Lent, Gospel, Jesus, Desert
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Monday, June 26, 2017
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 HD Video
- Is the 'Gaucho Priest' the Devil's worst nightmare?
- St. Anthelm: Saint of the Day for Monday, June 26, 2017
- Daily Reading for Monday, June 26th, 2017 HD Video
- Catholic hero gifted most prestigous award after saving woman's life ...
- Slovakia Catholics gift Iceland with a beautiful new church
- Daily Reading for Sunday, June 25th, 2017 HD
- Pope Francis prepares an incredible gift of love and solidarity for South Sudan HD
- St. Emma HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, June 24th, 2017 HD