Camels, Jet Planes and the Desert


“We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with Him and Him alone.

Our journey through life can be compared to a desert scene.

We are all standing in a huge, modern, air conditioned airport,peering anxiously through the plate glass, waiting for a jet plane to fly us to our oasis.

 

Although we have paced in the lounge for years,

a plane never lands for us, never accepts us as passengers.

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Meanwhile,

God keeps trying to get our attention.

He does not use the loud speakers which pump in distracting music all day.

No, He keeps whispering in our hearts that

He has a row of camels standing in the hot sun and tied to a fence.

There is placard around each camel’s neck with each of our names scrawled across them,

waiting to take us through the desert.

Listen to words of wisdom from a Henri Nouwen, a brilliant Dutch priest who studied psychology and taught at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard. Father gave up honour and prestige to live and write for ten years till 1996 with the mentally handicapped in one of  Jean Vanier’s L’ Arche Communities in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

“We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with Him and Him alone. Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature. Solitude is a place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

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“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 J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers

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