Fr Rowland - February 2013

posted 26 Feb 2013, 07:32 by Richard Jones   [ updated 26 Feb 2013, 07:32 ]

My dear friends, 

I find myself writing this letter on the 5th of January before flying out to South Africa to visit my niece and sister, and having just past through Christmas and yet to celebrate the EPIPHANY realise that I am having to think about LENT as Ash Wednesday falls on FEBRUARY 13th. 

LENT for me, like Advent is a season of preparation and a Time for Reflection. Jesus spent forty days in the desert, reflecting and praying. The desert may be a harsh place, but it is an ideal place for reflection and prayer. 

This desert experience came at a crucial moment in the life of Jesus, a time of great awakening. It would be impossible to exaggerate its importance for him. As a result he grew to love solitude, and made a habit of seeking it at difficult moments in his life.  When people and events threatened to engulf him, he would escape off to a lonely place to recover and rededicate himself to the Father. What he was doing was deepening this first desert experience. 

We too need a lonely place for reflection. Often we live foolishly and unspiritually, driven on by stupid desires and imprisoned by selfish habits. We are surrounded by noise and constant activity. We get our priorities wrong. We are unable or unwilling to be alone, to be silent, to be still. And we wonder why we are not happy, why we don`t find it easy to get on with others, and why we can`t pray. 

We need to find a place of solitude. In solitude we begin to stand on our own feet before God and the world, and accept full responsiblity for our own lives. The Hermit goes into the desert, not to lose himself, but to find himself. In solitude we face up to our addictions, our lust, our anger, and our need for recognition and approval. 

And we don`t go into the wilderness to escape from others, but to find them in God. 

`Only in solitude and silence can I find the gentleness with which I can love my bothers and sisters.` ( Thomas Merton )

Let us try and find some time during Lent to rediscover or discover solitude, peacefulness and prayer. 

Fr Roland.