Quarantine and The Proverbial Desert


The timing of our imposed quarantine here in San Diego could not have been more interesting, from the Christian perspective.

A little less than halfway through Lent, a time in the Catholic liturgical year where we are called to live in the proverbial desert, I picked up my kids from school for the last time this school year.

Lent lasts 40 days (excluding feast days and Sundays) where we are meant to pray, fast, give alms and repent with renewed intensity. It is a spiritual journey. We remember Jesus in the desert when the devil tempted him and he resists. All before His entrance into Jerusalem, where death awaited Him.

His resurrection is Easter. The pinnacle of the entire Christian Liturgical year. The reason we even exist as a faith community.

The scarcity and asceticism of Lent should stand in stark contrast to the life, abundance, and joy of Easter.

However, as of late, very few continue to live the spirit of Lent. And so the days would sort of mesh into one another, and most of us would shop for Easter eggs and treats instead.

Of course, one can say we are less religious nowadays. Is it because we are also more distracted? Even exercise and working out takes precedence toa spiritual practice.

And what for, anyway? We don’t “look better,” it isn’t “en vogue” to be an ascetic. “You are worth it,” means you get what you want always.

After all, isn’t spirituality simply about being a “good person,” whatever that means, to each individual?

Well, I suppose during these past 4 weeks, these are the very questions that could be mulled over with mindfulness, in the sanctuary of our homes.

Now, we have time. If we have time.

Let’s be honest, how many of us have ever taken the time to know scarcity? To live in solidarity with those who have always suffered throughout the ages?

Because this sort of thing is bringing many of us to our knees.

I had always thought of myself as a generally good person. But after all this, I realize how ungrateful I had been. How wasteful I had been. And now, every square of toilet paper is precious. A full fridge is a relief.

And so, yes, I prayed more often this Lent. I am getting to know the desert of the soul. Perhaps this is an opportunity for all of us to journey deeper into the spiritual life…

So that, when all this is over, we can emerge from the desert, and into the Easter we are meant to celebrate. With a sense of abundance and joy that never dies and is shared with all.

To go beyond the busy, and finally be a human fully alive.


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