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Creating a Desert

One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

A reflection for the First Sunday of Lent from Fr. Tudgay.

Typically, we begin Lent with the best of intentions. (We usually do the same at the start of a new year, Ahem!) Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes we get a week or two out of our resolution. Either way, the failure of the observance of the resolution or of the fast or of the plan of action is usually the result of putting trust into our own limited power, rather than on God’s power in us.

Classically, this is what we see in the First Reading, the well-known story of the fall. The second creation story in Genesis captures the deliberate and specific creation of the human person by God’s initiative and design. Placed in the Garden of Eden, where everything necessary for their survival and contentment was provided by God, Adam and Eve’s inquisitive nature that prohibited them from eating from that tree was too much to resist. What God provided wasn’t enough. The test was to trust. We can’t understand boundaries unless they’re tested. The test failed. Sin, and, subsequently, shame entered into the human experience. “They trusted in themselves”, says the psalmist. What next?

As we begin this transformative season, the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving aren’t an end in an of themselves. They simply create the space for God to be at work in us. We simplify our lives during this season in order that God’s grace can captivate our imagination by the power it has in our lives. This “undoes” the fall of Adam and Eve and, through our journey of discipleship with Jesus Christ, the redemption that his passion, death, and resurrection brings about is something that we own and experience in our own flesh and blood. Its wild!

So…here we go! Creating the desert, where Jesus goes in the Gospel this weekend, provides God the “space” that he desires to occupy in our lives in order to work his transformative grace in us. This, this, this is the reality of Christian Hope. This season, intense as it is, is a season of Hope. Our resolution shouldn’t be exclusively focused on what we’re giving up, but to look at what we’re giving up as a tiny element of the enormous power of God alive in our midst, which is the power to change everything!


Grant, almighty God, through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.

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