In various ways, the Scriptures foreshadow the forty days of Lent. After the Exodus, the Israelites wandered forty years in the desert. For forty days they waited in the desert, while spies reconnoitered the Promised Land. And Jesus himself fasted in the desert “forty days and forty nights” before his temptation by the Devil. For us, the season of Lent is like a sojourn in the desert. In our penances, we take Jesus as our model and as more than our model. He is also our companion is the desert, and the reason for our self-denial. In the desert, he discloses himself and helps us to deny ourselves out of love for him.
This Lent the Brothers at the House of Studies presented a series of four conferences on the topic of being “in the desert with Jesus.” The first conference is a meditation on the temptation of Christ. The final three conferences consider how we can imitate Christ’s love of the Father, by making reparation for our sins and reordering ourselves to God. Specifically, these conferences treat what the Catechism notes are three eminent forms of penance: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (CCC 1434).
Listen to all the Dominican Lenten Conferences here.
Image: Vasily Polenov, Has Been in Desert