After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit of God led him into the desert, where Satan confronted him and tempted him three times.
Isn't that the way of things. We are filled with grace and favor and carried by the Holy Spirit into the hard places. It is not that we are led into temptation by the Spirit of God, but that God allows for our faith to be proved. In the end, we find ourselves in the desert to meet God and the demonic, whether or not we go willingly. Better to go willingly and accompanied by the Spirit.
This is what I want to do now, more than ever. I want to spend time with God, apart from both work and rest. A Sabbath beyond all sabbaths. And I will do battle with any demons who dare to get in the way.
Next Monday the postulants depart for Beacon, N.Y., for a five-day retreat with Capuchin Br. Ignatius Feaver, a friar from the Province of Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd in Central Canada. We will be learning methods of discernment as we inquire of God and our brothers whether we are called to continue formation into the novitiate. We will also explore where and how we need to grow personally, spiritually. Apart from instruction, prayer, and meal time, it will be a silent retreat. We will be staying at St. Lawrence Retreat Center in the town.
On Friday we will head to Saugerties to join the candidates for their discernment weekend through Sunday. In all it will be a week away from Brooklyn.
I have already decided to go offline next week. I am not bringing my laptop; I will resist checking e-mail and web surfing from my brothers' computers. I don't have a cell phone; I will try not to use any telephone. I will try not to read the news. I apologize ahead of time to those who are accustomed to the near-daily posts from the friary. I will be away only for a little while. But it will be a complete disappearance.
God, be with me. Demons, be warned. I am going to the desert. The desert beckons.