And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness …
— Luke 4: 1-2
Despite its clarity and simplicity, however, the desert wears at the same time, paradoxically, a veil of mystery. Motionless and silent it evokes in us an elusive hint of something unknown, something unknowable, about to be revealed. Since the desert does not act it seems to be waiting – but waiting for what?
— Edward Abbey from Desert Solitaire
To proceed very far through the desert, you must be willing to meet existential suffering and work it through. In order to do this, the attitude toward pain has to change. This happens when we accept the fact that everything that happens to us has been designed for our spiritual growth.
— M. Scott Peck from
It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ.
— Henri Nouwen from The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
‘What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…’
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry from The Little Prince
- Claiming What God Can Do Within The Dust
- A Different Kind of Fast
- Waiting in the Wilderness
- The Desert (Thomas Merton)
- Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent (Richard Rohr)
- Desert Wisdom: A Nomad’s Guide to Life’s Big Questions from the Heart of the Native Middle (Neil Douglas-Klotz)
- Sacred Space for Lent