Forty days in the wilderness. Forty days without food or drink. Forty days alone.
I’ve often wondered what was the hardest part was for Jesus – the temptations, the hunger or thirst, the total solitude.
For me, Lent involves a bit of all three: the temptation to give in and sneak some meat on a Friday; fasting from my favorite desserts; giving up meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
And then there’s the solitude. I’ve been single for the last three years, and that desire to share my life – my joys, my struggles, my God – with someone has only increased over the years.
Working in the field of youth ministry, I often think about how nice it would be to come home after a long day with the teens and share with my husband how God was at work that day, or about how confused I am, or just to ask for prayers.
I’m grateful to have some incredible friends and a supportive family, and I know that my solitude is nothing like Jesus’. Nevertheless, that longing remains.
For Jesus – a man and God of intense relationships – I’m prone to think that the solitude was the worst. Did He miss His mother and father? Did he long for the company and laughter of the disciples?
Yet amidst those longings, Jesus had the most intimate relationship with God the Father, bonded by the Holy Spirit, and it was this relationship that sustained Him. He clung to the Father in prayer, offering up each day (and down the road, His very death) as an expression of His love and service.
This is what Lent is about for me. Whatever temptation, whatever deprivation, whatever loneliness I may feel, I want those things to push me closer into the embrace of my Father. Without that, an increased dependence on God, it’s all for naught.
Forty days in the wilderness. Forty days without food or drink. Forty days alone. A cross of wood and the sins of the world. That is how much Jesus loves me. By God’s grace and strength, may my own temptations, fasting, and solitude be a witness of my love for Him in return.
And as we move into the Easter season, may this love continue to grow with the joy of Christ’s Resurrection. He is risen, and thus, we are never alone.
Reflection question: How do you celebrate Christ’s resurrection?
Read more Lenten reflections written by CatholicMatch members:
- Day 39 – Walter-181370: ‘I Search For Love Even More Ardently’
- Day 38 – Michelle-441514: ‘I Can Think Less About My Timeline’
- Day 37 – Shellsee-176674: ‘God Will Allow Me Contentment’
- Day 36 – John-669229: ‘This Seclusion Is Preparation For A Great Love’
- Day 35 – Joyce-670967: ‘Do Not Judge By His Appearance’
- Day 34 – Vince-690564: ‘Am I Going To Find Someone At All?’
- Day 33 – Lisa-2533: ‘I Want To Spend More Time In Gratitude’
- Day 32 – Maria-414558: ‘It’s A Yearly Checkpoint’
- Day 31 – Ray-566531: ‘Now I Feel No Sense Of Urgency’
- Day 30 – Paula-176068: ‘Maybe We can Still Put God First’
- Day 29 – Nancy-550313: ‘I Need Lots Of Prayer & Encouragement’
- Day 28 – Steven-408478: ‘The Depths Of My Sins Were Forgiven’
- Day 27 – Nathalie-529528: ‘For Once I See Single Life As A Blessing’
- Day 26 – Craig-88457: ‘One Of Those Moments That Lasts Lifetime’
- Day 25 – Angela-394784: ‘Keep Doing What You’re Doing’
- Day 24 – Elizabeth-521570: ‘Pleading With God: Why Am I Still Single?’
- Day 23 – Dan-139782: ‘I’m Rolling With The Dating Disappointments’
- Day 22 – Judith-575655: ‘Dating Seems Like Its Own Form Of Penance’
- Day 21 – Jaime-361203: ‘I Want To Seek First The Kingdom Of God’
- Day 20 – Diane-173836: ‘Single Life Is Not A Barren Spiritual Desert’
- Day 19 – Michelle-629774: ‘Let Us Fast From Comparisons’
- Day 18 – Darrell-622889: ‘Single Life, Followed By Easter Joy’
- Day 17 – Rosalia-544329: ‘Amazingly, I Feel Saved’
- Day 16 – Sherry-118409: ‘My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?’
- Day 15 – Matthew-695017: ‘Lent Is Not A Dark & Gloomy Time’
- Day 14 – Dawn-58330: ‘I Want To Have Faith Like A Child’
- Day 13 – Dan-595920: ‘I Always Find Excuses’
- Day 12 – Annette-639693: ‘In The Quiet I Hear God’s Voice Clearly’
- Day 11 – Ron-40989: ‘Remember We Are Purifying Our Love’
- Day 10 – Linda-504414: ‘God Might Be Trying To Teach Us Something Vital’
- Day 9 – Andy-246798: ‘I’m Happy To Take A Break From Dating Women’
- Day 8 – Marci-365801: ‘I’m Worried I Have Drifted Off Course’
- Day 7 – Tina-401203: ‘Waiting For Our Lives To Begin’
- Day 6 – Erik-215414: ‘No One Said This Was Going To Be Easy’
- Day 5 – Cate-291547: ‘I Felt Stuck In A Second Adolescence’
- Day 4 – Ryan-672439: ‘God Loves A Good Comeback’
- Day 3 – Theresa-630252: ‘I Think Of This As Preparation Time’
- Day 2 – Barb-505508: ‘We Have To Read Between The Lines’
- Day 1 – Richard-632838: ‘I Recognize How Much I Need God’s Grace