Monday, March 31, 2014

Retreat to the Desert

I feel like I don't have enough time in my day.
Either that, or I am not organized enough.

The laundry isn't put away,
the dishes are sitting next to the sink.
I am behind on my writing deadlines,
emails sit unanswered.
My desk is piled high with mail,
baby clothes need to be organized,
bathrooms need to be cleaned,
closets need to be purged.

Queen B, what is going on?  Isn't Lent the time for projects like these?
Not this year.  Not for me.

This year, I realized I needed to do something different for Lent.  
I realized that Lenten projects of past years-- cleaning, organizing, giving away--
had distracted me from what I really needed, more time with God.

This year, as I prepared for Lent, I reread a Gospel passage describing Jesus' forty day retreat to the desert.  He had just been baptized by John and was about to start His public ministry, spreading the good news of the Gospel.  But, after being baptized, Jesus didn't rush right out to get started.  First, he retreated to the desert to pray, and not just for a few minutes, a day, a week.  He was gone for forty days.  

I have very little free time these days.  Between school drop-offs and pick-ups, meal-times and abbreviated naps, I have very little time by myself.  The chores are constantly clamoring for more of my time, and I am constantly tempted to lay my babes in their beds and frantically tackle the To-Do list.  But this Lent, I am trying to set aside the To-Do list and tackle prayer first.  Everyday, it is a struggle for me to do this.  The biggest challenge for me is that when I get done with my prayer time the laundry is still unfolded or a mess is still staring me in the face, but it is school pick-up time or nap time is over or the kids are waking up or it is simply too late to do another chore.  

My house and email inbox look a bit more disorganized than usual this Lent.  But, I am hoping that my soul is just a tiny bit more organized, more centered, more patient, more peaceful, more loving.  I am also hoping that come Easter,  the Lord will bless these forty days of prayer, perhaps with a renewed sense of direction, a renewed energy to tackle the waiting projects.  Perhaps, as a result of this prayerful detour, my Easter path will be more clear.  

“Come now, miserable mortal, flee for a brief time from your occupations, leave for a while your tumultuous thoughts. Move away at this moment from your grave anxieties and put aside your exhausting activities. Attend to God and repose in him. Enter into the depth of your soul, exclude everything, except God and what helps you seek him and, having closed the door, say to God: I seek your face. Your face I seek, Lord.”  
~Saint Anselm of Aosta

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