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  • By Flor Santamaría

Ten days in the desert

It has been ten days now since the Lent period started. Among millions of the billions of Catholics around the world, this is a time of renewal. A time of saying to God: I want to be a better human, I want to love you more. I want to walk with you.

This particular year, I feel like a I am going on foot, by the side walk, without much direction or much to do. I perceive as if people are inviting me to a miracle course of perfection in forty days. Social media, specially, Instagram accounts, good priests and movements, Facebook people I follow. All of them offer me, like if I was in The Lent Market. So, I wonder: am I not a worthy disciple? It is just I can not cope with it.

The city

Am I lacking love for God? Am I lacking understanding of what is going on in Lent? Because I feel I am trying to find the calling voice of Jesus in New York City or in Shanghai.

I think about Him, every day, and I speak with Him every day, as I don't even do with my parents here in earth. And since it is Lent, I imagine He is like "busy" or "in deep prayer" so I can't really speak with Him. He must not be disturbed, since it is Lent.

But at the same time, Jesus is telling me: Come. Walk with me, but we have not much time. I want to show you something.

While I look around, and everyone is in their Lent mode (that I am not been part of), we both walk among them, invisible. And he is just taking me by the hand. With no time even to chat like before.

That’s it! This Lent is not “He and me” thing. It is He instructing me something that I do not really get yet. Every time I go like “but Lord”, He silences me and says: just follow me. Until the moment of the prayer. And I seat a little far back, caring not to stare at Him so much, in order to respect His privacy. And then, when finished, He is kind and and smiles at me.

But He seems stressed at times, then I ask if there is something I can do for Him, knowing there is nothing but also out of politeness, and He nods and continues, my poor loved Jesus. And me, by His side, not knowing what to do. Like when I am in the hospital, in front of someone who I know it is going to die, but I feel the need to comfort the family. Imagine that, me trying to comfort Jesus. How futile, but still decent right?

Out of my fantasy, my friends seem so prepared. The church, the priests, the congregation. All austere, the settings purple, ten days and it felt as fast as when I just change my profile picture in Facebook. I feel so behind right now. Not because I am not understanding what is going on, of course not, I have experienced Lent so many times in my life, but because I don not get which road is God calling me to take this time?

Each year the desert is not the same. At least, I do not walk the same desert every year and today I am so out of sync with the other people in my congregation. I hear my people saying they are fasting from meat, from, sweets, from speaking, from so many things and I can’t just tune in. Am I fasting at all? I wonder again

Second Friday of Lent, after Communion, I thought about my aunties, they are both dead. I felt them so present in my prayers. As if they came from heaven to pat my shoulder. I asked them: Are you here because God wanted you to come and comfort me? And they said yes. They also said, no worries about the time you will come here to meet Him. The time is not that relevant. Then I said, well, that is if He wants me to actually go to Heaven. That is, if I don’t screw all up, although I love Him. And then, to my surprise they said: My dear, if you only knew how badly He loves you, you would never think He will not make the road for you to reach heaven. I felt appeased and we talked other things in the heart.

After that Friday mass, I came home by the hand of mother Mary. I was thinking about the night, women and girls who never made it home, until I was safely deposited at home. And after some thoughts and meditations, I think I am fasting here, at home. The desert I know the most,is the one I need to stay at. Me, the desert flower which deep roots drink from the running waters from underground. Me a desert flower in Lent.

As Saint Exupery wrote in The Little Prince "Every desert hides a dwell".

I hope Jesus dwells on my desert this lent, at His tune, on His time.

On His prayer.

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