In the Silence of the Heart
In the silence of the heart You speak.
Thus says the Lord, “I will allure her,
I will lead her into the desert.
There she shall respond to me as in the days of her youth,
When she came up from the land of Egypt.”
I shall espouse you to me forever,
In right and in justice, love and in mercy;
I'll espouse you in fidelity,
And you shall know the Lord.
When I was told that our theme for this Lenten season was based off of the scripture verse Hosea 2:16, I knew that being active in this women's ministry was part of God's plan for me. Let me explain. I recently graduated from Franciscan University this past fall and had some promising career prospects already set up. Option One: Stay in wonderful Steubenville, Ohio where there was my comfy affordable home, great fellowship, friends, and an adrenaline/adventure rich EMT career already set into motion. This seemed great to me! Home+Food+Adventurous Career+Friends=Happiness. Option Two: Take a wonderful glamorous job as an assistant to a well-known movie producer in Miami, Florida. Oh, the sun, the beach, la comida rica (delicious food), the salsa and bachata (Latin dancing), and not to mention the people I'd meet! Univision and Telemundo people! A Hispanic girl's dream! Talk about great networking. Finally, Option Three: Come to the desert in Arizona, live on la frontera (the border) of Mexico and teach. I've always wanted to be a teacher but not once in my entire life did I ever say to myself, “Hey... Self, we need to move to Arizona to teach! Cause there's so much going on there....” *cricket cricket cricket* Not once.
However, as time went on in the months of my discernment of where to go after graduation, Hosea 2:16 was echoing throughout my heart and mind. “When God wants to teach divine lessons to a soul he speaks to her heart, He leads her into the desert” (The Imitation of Mary p.35; cf Hosea 2:16). I admit, I wasn't very excited about coming to a place where everything is AT LEAST two hours away, Wal-Mart is the hot spot, cartels are in your backyard, and the population is the smallest I've ever lived in (big city girl over here). However, the thought of Arizona out of my three options gave me the most peace. This frustrated me. I wanted adventure, adrenaline, beaches, and money to pay off loans! Why couldn't Jesus see this and say yes to it?
As I reflect on being in the desert I am grateful for its hidden nature. I see now that Christ is pursuing me in the silence and solitude of this desert. What a great joy it is to be free of distractions that come with being in metropolitan areas. Yes, the time will come to be in the city, but that time is not now. We must be present to the desert time of Lent. It is here in the desert that we find Jesus in his forty days of prayer and fasting. He's asking you to come to Him. Pray with him. Can you imagine Him at your side now? Holding your hand in His as He stares into your eyes? In The Imitation of Mary by Thomas A. Kempis, we read that a hidden life like this one is a place to “tap the source of repentant tears and cleanse yourself more completely of you sins. [Here] you would be more intimately united to Jesus and have, in His love, a foretaste of heaven's joys”(p.153) In Christ's mercy he calls us to the desert. Colossians 3:3 says,
“...your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.”
May you enter in to this hidden life with Christ. God bless you my dear sister.
Recommended reading by Catherine: The Imitation of Mary by Thomas A. Kempis