Fairhaven Shorts 2-18-2024

Fairhaven Shorts 2-18-2024

Embracing Spiritual Wilderness

And there's a reason then that Jesus drives, that the Holy Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness at his baptism. It's this necessary step before he embarks on active ministry, proclaiming the coming of the kingdom. There's a reason that Jesus always is fleeing into what the Bible translates as a deserted place. All the time in ministry, whenever he needs to return to God, set aside the clutter, the chaos of the disciples, the mobs of needy people, be by himself with God in the wilderness.

There's a reason that Moses meets God on the heights of Mount Sinai, where nobody else is around. There's a reason why many Native American tribes, countless cultures around the country, like the idea of a vision quest, that's a real thing. People go out into the wilderness by themselves, not to eat, not to drink, for days to see what happens, what they see whenever everything is stripped away. Wilderness has this purifying, clarifying effect on the spirit.

The Desert Monk's Test

Long ago, a Christian brother was leaving the world to become a monk in the desert. And though he gave his goods to the poor, he kept some for his own use, just in case. He went to Father Anthony, and when Anthony knew what he had done, Anthony told him, If you want to be a monk, go to that village over there, buy some meat, hang it on your naked body, and come back here. The brother went, and dogs and birds tore at his body.

He came back to Anthony, who asked him if he had done what he was told. He showed him his torn body. Then Anthony said, Those who renounce the world but want to keep their money are attacked in that way by demons and torn to pieces. We love having a safety net, don't we? Just in case, option, plan B if things don't work out.

Think about how averse we are now as a culture. I think this is a fairly recent development, but it's always been there to some extent, to any sense of real, genuine isolation or risk.