Seems we no sooner finish celebrating the Birth of Jesus and we are asked to pack our baggage and head to the desert. As we move toward the beginning of our 40 days of Lent, our 40 days with the Lord, our 40 days of quiet contemplation (well interior quiet I hope), maybe we should take a few days to prepare for the journey this year. So many times in the past, we may have made promises to sacrifice with good intentions and those promises may have fallen short because they were not well planned. Like any good journey, any pilgrimage, we must think seriously about what we want to take with us, what will help these 40 days to be successful, to enrich our lives of faith, to draw us closer to our Savior. The terrain will be sandy and at times rocky. The atmosphere will be dry and hot. At times we will feel alone, hungry, thirsting for something more, for something that satisfies.
Let's start by choosing a few general books to read. There are so many good titles right now that I'm sure we can find something to replace our typical "have a seat in front of the TV at night until we fall asleep" end of the day routine.
And we can choose some "good to start and end our day" Lenten devotionals. A good practice could also be to go a little out of our way to support the local or online Catholic Bookstores. They also will have more suggestions in the way of new books and good Lenten titles.
Let's also keep in mind that when we are hot and sweaty and tired, we tend to give in to life's whisper that we are being too strict, that allowing ourselves to cheat once in a while will not matter. This is precisely why we need the proper rest and the proper amount of water to sustain the change, to handle the shock to our daily routine. For weeks he has been calling each of us to "follow him". Now he is going to the desert to fast and to pray and to contemplate the will of his Father and we are preparing to go with him.
What will you do to prepare for the journey? What will you take to sustain yourself for 40 days? Jesus will be beside us, out there. Can we remain with him?