Desert Spirituality

A good friend just gave me a copy of Carlos Carretto's Letters from the Desert. It's one of these spiritual classics that, unfortunately, I'd never heard of. Carlos was a prominent Catholic activist, who at age 44 was summoned by a voice that said,"Leave everything, come with me into the desert. I don't want your action any longer. I want your prayer, your love." This from the intro:

The heart of the Gospel, he believed, is to make of ourselves an oasis of love in whatever desert we might find ourselves.

Wish I had a dollar for every time I've found myself seeking an oasis of love instead making of myself an oasis of love. Don't get bogged down in some semantic gnat-straining; Caretto and I both agree that it's God that makes us whatever we are. The emphasis here is on being something rather than seeking something. Being love rather than always seeking love.

Adopt that shift in perspective, what Caretto calls "the heart of the Gospel," and a job that feels like a desert is not to be resigned from, but rather watered by the love of Christ flowing through me. A marriage that resembles miles and miles of burning sands is not to be run away from, but given over to a greater love, that of Christ in me or you, the hope of glory. A church experience where you're not getting anything from the sermons or music is not a reason to seek out another local expression of worship, but...

Wow. I'm not sure I even believe all that. Or maybe I do and it scares me. Maybe I feel, deep within my 40-year-old bones, that another forty-something guy found a truth in the desert of North Africa that speaks to the core of what difference the life of a thirty-something god/man, who came to a desert world and made of his life an oasis of love, really makes in my life.

I may wear my sandals today...the forecast calls for hot, desert-like temps.

1 comment:

  1. Hi John... Wondering why it seems that I'm alone in posting to your blog. No matter... The part about my response to a local body where there is discontent with either worship and/or preaching style hit home. Trying to stay planted and to minister rather than seeking perfection (which obviously doesn't exist) elsewhere.