The Inward Journey
The Lenten season is an opportunity to take that inward journey into ourselves. It is an opportunity to reflect on the values that defy the changes that happen in our life. It is a time to consider the eternal issues about the real meaning of our life.
Lent is about confronting the truth about ourselves. As we pray, abstain, fast or perform acts of charity, we wrestle with the truth about ourselves, trying to ward off the temptations of this world. The temptations of Satan on Jesus in the desert thrive in us as we continue to succumb to our illusions and evade the issues of personal integrity.
To withdraw into the desert is the description of our journey into our inner space. Pope Paul VI states: “To withdraw into the desert is for the Christian tantamount to associate oneself more intimately with Christ’s passion, and it enables us in a very special way to share in the Paschal Mystery and in the passage of our Lord from this world to the heavenly homeland.”
Our journey into the desert requires us to lay bare our soul before God, devoid of any pretense, simulation or denial. This is the gift we have to ask God to bestow on us as we embark on this journey into our own inner space. This journey brings us into confrontation between the reality of our human weakness and God’s power and mercy, between our very self and God’s own goodness.
As we begin this Lenten journey, let us start by examining our lives in a specific area of our spiritual life, that is, the phenomenon of temptation. What would we consider our greatest temptation right now? How do we react to it? Do we pray for God’s help when it comes? Do we seek a healthy diversion that will help us ignore it? How can others help? Do we make of each temptation a means of getting closer to God? Do we see temptations as valuable occasions to choose God once more? Temptations are said to be like storms of the soul. Sooner or later they come to an end. And if we have fought them well, we emerge from them stronger, better, happier.