The 17th-century French philosopher Blaise Pascal said that most of us spend our lives seeking diversions in a desperate attempt to avoid the hard and simple questions: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What does God want of me?
We eat and drink, gamble and gossip, seek out the most banal entertainments, surrender to television and social media, attend party after party–all in order to avoid those questions.
Right now, identify the diversion that most distracts you from these questions. Then take some practical steps to rid yourself of it, or at least reduce it.
Are you preoccupied with eating and drinking? Then fast regularly. Do you watch too much television or spend too much time on Facebook? Then give yourself a specific limit. Do you indulge in idle chatter? Then resolve not to say anything mean about anybody (you’ll find that your conversations are a lot shorter!) Do you socialize too much? Then refrain from non-essential parties for the rest of Lent.
Clear the ground. Clean out the system. Make room for yourself to ask and reflect on life’s most important questions.
To follow Jesus into the desert is to divest yourself of diversions. It is to sacrifice the superficial so that the depth may rise. It is to still the chatter so that God’s voice might be heard.
“To follow Jesus into the desert is to divest yourself of diversions.”
by Fr. Robert Barron