Ash Wednesday – Into the Desert

by Bishop Robert Barron

In so many of the great figures of salvation history—Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, David, etc.—a period of testing or trial is required before they can commence their work. We see the same thing in the initiation rituals of primal peoples, and you can see it in Luke Skywalker’s initiation in Star Wars.

The goal of the Biblical initiation rituals is to convey this simple truth: your life is not about you. It is about God and God’s purposes for you.

This was the purpose of Jesus’s forty-day sojourn in the desert, which we model during Lent. The desert represents a stripping away of our attachments, so as to make the fundamental things appear. In the desert, there are no distractions or diversions or secondary matters. Everything is basic, necessary, and simple. Either one survives or one doesn’t. One finds in the desert strengths and weaknesses he never knew he had.

So are you ready to visit your desert? Are you prepared to deal with your particular temptations to pleasure, power, money, and honor? Even if, in the past, you have not succeeded in the ways you wanted, remember that our God is a God of second chances. It’s never too late to start again.

On this Ash Wednesday, let’s recommit ourselves and together journey into the desert.


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  • Mervyn Gladstone Gomez

    Amen Bishop. Without a God of second and even third and fourth and……. still ongoing chances, we would never be here! Thanks to His unfathomable, infinite divine mercy and unconditional immeasurable love, without which nothing would exist! The least we can all do is turn back to Him during this season!

  • clusterdreamer

    “On this Ash Wednesday, let’s recommit ourselves and together journey into the desert.”
    So let’s. And may our merciful Father bless us all.

    • Elizabeth

      when you say journey into the desert, clusterdreamer, it reminds me of when I go on a retreat weekend. Individually we are being strengthened and then we recognize we are a community of believers. We are then able to go forward to bring the Prince of Peace to the world in which we live. God bless you and those in Croatia.

  • William John Meegan

    I remember back when I was twenty-six years old during a traumatic period in my life when I looked down at a bible and thought, “all those people could not have been wrong for thousands of years”. Little did I know at the time that they were wrong; but, for the wrong reason. Yes, the bible exudes the message of God; however, most people misinterpret God’s missive to the soul.

    Initially, I was just another Catholic studying the bible the wrong ways and interpreting the texts from a Protestant iconoclastic perspective; though, I was born and raised a Catholic by nuns. I had left the Church for about a decade and then trying to read the bible without any guidance. I had to reach back into memory of my Catechism lessons during bygone youth; for the reason that, I had memories of the nuns mentioning that every single word was symbolic (iconography). So the harsh desert, that Bishop Robert Barron speak of, for me spanned for a period of almost nine years from August 1974 to April 15, 1983. I began to see some sense in the English translations of the bible; but, most of that studying via iconoclastic reading and thought; thus, I gleam very little from iconography (symbolism) at that time. I did have spiritual experiences at that time, which encouraged me a great deal.

    I believe the testing period that Bishop Robert Barron speaks of is directly related to whether the individual is willing to give of his whole heart, mind, soul, time, finances and resources. In the inner temple we build is the spiritual forces, which no individual can lie to and based upon the true character of the individual determines the spiritual progress of the individual.

    On April 15, 1983 I traverse a vast spiritual gulf in my researches on the bible, which I had no right believing or any idea that it existed. And from that time forward discerning the WORD OF GOD was a great deal easier. Yet, every moment we study the WORD OF GOD puts the individual back into the desert and it is only through due diligence of giving of one whole heart, mind, soul, time, finances and resources that the individual doesn’t concertize himself like a statue in the world of materialism. One always has to be actively seeking God, for the moment a person believes he or she has a full understanding of God and ceases to study the bible it is at that time that the psyche gets lock into a sepulcher: full of dead men bones and all kinds of filthiness.

    • Isabel Guadiz Tobey

      Silence, quieting one’s heart and soul listening to God is the key. All is grace without which we can turn into a spinning top! Pax.

      • William John Meegan

        We each interpret it our own way; though, mantras never got anybody anywhere other than vain repetition; however, due diligence in searching for knowledge and understanding of the Word of God is the only sure path to understanding God’s missive to the world.

        • 50AF

          I disagree, William. The Catholic Church disagrees with you as well. The entire basis of our existence is a community of love, the Triune God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the love that is expressed between them and that courses throughout creation. We are created for relationship; indeed — creation IS relationship.

          Our lives are not about us — our lives are about love. We are made for love. It has to be that way, because God is Love. There is no love without relationship — without a lover, the beloved, and the love that is expressed between them. And of course, “[w]here two or three are gathered in my name, there I am….” That is our Lord’s Mystical Body that we are all called to participate in.

          Lent is indeed a time for individual reflection, for separating ourselves from the crowd and our routines, for going into our “desert” so that God may speak to us more clearly and forcefully. But to what end? Personal knowledge and understanding? A personal quest? Securing your own personal revelation? No, we go into the desert so that God may prepare us for love, so that we may be and participate in the relationship of love that creation is, so that we together strengthen and realize his Mystical Body. Knowledge, understanding, wisdom — these are all empty idols if they are not in service of love and the Mystical Body.

          • Barbara Ann Baugh

            Indeed William. Yes Jesus withdrew into the desert to prepare to gather his disciples and all people to his love.

          • William John Meegan

            Reading the bible iconoclastically is Catholicism way in modernity to read the bible, which is of cause a satanic way of reading the bible. The bible has to be read iconographically.

            Pointing out “[w]here two or three are gathered in my name, there I am….” is ridiculous once realize that every set in the Fibonacci sequence is a two to three ratio and Christ (spiritual is in DNA molecule).

            If the Catholic Church is unwilling to teach the deep secrets of God then it is up to the individual soul to search out these deep mysterious mysteries of God. If these deep mysteries about God did not exist then why have I uncovered them and written three books and over 28-independent academic papers about the sacred geometry in the bible.

            I can unequivocally prove that Christians wrote the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi and I can literally demonstrate that no Jew ever wrote so much as a word of the Old Testament. Now you probably have a great deal of historical disinformation to argue against that claim; but, what you know is from what others have told you. Study your bible iconographically and you’ll learn that the bible has nothing to do with human history nor does it have anything to do with the time/space continuum. If you still believe in all that nonsense than you are just a child that has not developed into a Christian adult.

            The mythoi of the New Testament tell how Jesus took Peter, James and John up to the mountain and taught them secret information and then told them not to tell it to others. Why it is that I can tell you about these deep secrets and your parish priest know nothing of them? Most dioceses priest don’t study their bible; because, they are too much into the social fabric of society.

          • 50AF

            Yes, I am familiar with your books and papers. They do not alter my view at all.

            William, for what it is worth — and I doubt you think it much, as we have been down this road before — I suggest that what you believe to have discovered as the “deep secrets of God” are little more than an idol you have constructed for yourself, a Gospel According to William John Meegan. And that is a very dangerous place to be. In any event, I don’t think I should let it go unsaid: Your suggestion that Holy Scripture is not a historical record of events and people that actually happened and lived in time and in space, but rather a coded mythology meant to communicate a vague and largely self-serving spiritual message in essentially mathematical terms is just so much Jungian nonsense. I wish I could put it more charitably, but in truth, there it is.

          • William John Meegan

            You are not a Roman Catholic if you say that the WORD OF GOD is idols. My works comes directly from the bible with DEMONSTRABLE EVIDENCE. For you to say differently, I call upon God and Jesus Christ his son to punish you serverely for your blaspheme.

            I challenge you and anybody in the Church that comes forward and accuses the WORD OF GOD as being idols. I CHALLENGE YOU OR ANYBODY ELSE TO SCIENTIFICALLY PROVE ME WRONG IN MY DISCOVERIES OF SACRED GEOMETRY IN THE BIBLE.


            If you want to lie and keep your disinformation program going you have to have more than a loud and boisterous mouth. My work stand alone; because, it is a scientific analysis on the WORD OF GOD. Anyone that want to google my academic papers see

            My books

            I cannot believe that if you are a Roman Catholic that you would start such a despicable disinformation and propaganda program against my work. I am praying that God doesn’t have mercy on your soul. You have committed sins against the Holy Spirit that does nothing but inspire the truth.

          • 50AF

            Well. That was certainly as expected.

            May God’s grace and peace come upon us both, William, and upon all who gather here. May we all love as God loves. May we all decrease, and He increase. May our lives not be about us, as Bishop Barron instructs. Pax, 50.

          • William John Meegan

            That last post was all about you obeying the commandments of Satan. You called God’s Word an idol. Jesus Christ is not an idol but I am not God so I cannot forgive such blaspheme only God can. I can only pray and hope you burn in hell for eternity.

          • 50AF

            No William, I called your words an idol, not God’s Word. You self-proclaim your own personal (and odd) interpretation of God’s sacred scriptures as being itself the “Word of God,” but in my view it is merely the word of William John Meegan, and that is what I have called an idol.

            But look, strike out at me however you wish. It is of no import. The fact is that praying for my eternal damnation says more about the dangerous spiritual place you inhabit than anything I can write here.

            So in conclusion, and truly, may God have mercy on both our souls.

          • William John Meegan

            You always love to flap your jaws; because you always want to be loud and boisterous; but, you never-ever give your readers proof to back up your idiotic statements. I tell you that I have demonstrable evidence of what I am talking about and I produce this evidence clearly in my academic papers and in my books; yet, I and your readers have yet to see you produce one piece of evidence of your claims against my work.

            All you are doing is spouting HATRED, which by the way is anti-Catholic. You hide behind a pseudo name and you make idiotic claims with no proof. That alone out your own mouth prove you are a satanic idiot. EVIL always destroys itself.

            You never-ever see me hide behind a pseudo name nor do you see me hide my work, which is available for all to read.

            I do not strike out at you; rather, you are beating yourself up with your own stupidity, why don’t you JUST TRY and show me and your readers what your thoughts are concerning my work producing scientific evidence that I am mistaken in my interpretation of God’s WORD. Not showing me or your readers evidence of your blasphemous remarks is you yourself beating on your own so-called intellect as if your STUPIDITY IS SECOND TO NONE.

          • 50AF

            Here is my proof, William. This is the deposit of faith. This is what a Roman Catholic believes:

            “We believe in one God,
            the Father, the Almighty,
            Maker of all that is, seen and unseen.

            We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
            the only Son of God,
            eternally begotten of the Father,
            God from God, Light from Light,
            true God from true God,
            begotten, not made, consubstantial
            of one Being with the Father.
            Through him all things were made.

            For us and for our salvation
            he came down from heaven:
            and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
            he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
            and was made man.

            For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
            he suffered death and was buried.
            On the third day he rose again
            in accordance with the Scriptures;
            he ascended into heaven
            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
            He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
            and his kingdom will have no end.

            We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
            who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
            With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
            He has spoken through the Prophets.
            We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
            We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
            We look for the resurrection of the dead,
            and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

            None of which depends upon or relies upon your “sacred geometry.” Indeed, it contradicts one of your general themes, which as I understand it is a view that the New Testament is mythology, a concocted set of stories involving people and events that did not actually live or occur, and which at root are merely a collection of code words that God strung together to convey (in a mathematical and/or alphanumeric way) the true message that is hidden behind the contrived stories, meanings which only your “sacred geometry” reveals. I note the 3rd and 4th stanzas of the Nicene Creed stand in direct conflict with that view and clearly refer to our Lord as entering space and time and walking this earth, living, suffering, dying, and rising, exactly as the New Testament describes — indeed, historical facts that are central to the Christian faith and without which the Christian faith literally falls apart.

            What’s more, if I understand your view, it is that these hidden meanings that your sacred geometry decodes from the myths contained in the New Testament are the exclusive summit and source of knowledge and revelation and grace, and are directed solely at the individual as individual and are not addressed to, or meant to create, a community of faith. Therefore, in your view, the sacramental life of the Church (e.g., Baptism, Mass, the Eucharist, Confession, etc.), the teaching magisterium of the Church (both in terms of Scriptural exegesis and Tradition), and indeed the Church itself and the community of faith it is meant to be and foster, are all not only un-essential to the life of a Christian but indeed hindrances to a true understanding of God and his purposes, which can only be divined from your sacred geometry and for your own individual realization.

            If the foregoing are inaccurate statements of your views, then I am happy to be corrected — disclaim it here and explain what you actually mean and we can reassess.

          • William John Meegan

            You make up contrived statements and then associate them to me. I believe in all the sacraments only I interpret the sacraments to have other interpretations then the literal fundamental iconoclastic interpretations.

            For example BAPTISM is learning all you can about the sacred scripture. The individual is suppose to drown himself in the waters of the sacred scriptures. It is then the responsibility of the individual to rise up out of that water similar to how the birds in the fifth day of creation came out of the waters of the sea to live on the earth. Most people will never get to walk on that water. They will spend their entire lives beneath the floods that deluge their psyche.

            Reconciliation is to admit to God, not necessarily a priest, one’s sins, which have nothing to do with penal codes, morality, ethics or societal mores. SIN is having false beliefs about God.

            The Eucharist (Christ) is the spiritual interpretation of the sacred scriptures. Notice how Jesus throughout the New Testament was always interpreting the sacred scriptures.

            CONFIRMATION is the belief in the Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church: the WORD OF GOD made flesh..

            Marriage is for ego-consciousness to communicate with the unconscious mind. The mystical marriage of Christ. The soul when it comes into the world splits into the two part psyche. It is up to the individual to regain his soul via the Al-chemical Mystical Marriage of Christ.

            Holy Orders is to know that you as a Catholic are a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Holy Orders has nothing whatsoever to do with being an ordained priest.

            Extreme Unction, is to die the materialistic death (not physical death) and to be BORN AGAIN in the Spiritual Garden of Eden and to live on earth walking in friendship with God.

            If you want to believe in the iconoclastic fundamental and literal readings of the bible that is your forte; but, that nonsense has nothing whatsoever to do with the true and spiritual teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

            By the way the sacred geometry I cull out of the first chapter of Genesis or anywhere out of the bible is not mine it is God’s missive to the world. It is there in the sacred scriptures for all to discern on a scientific basis. If it wasn’t meant to be known why is it there to be envisaged by the studious student of the sacred scriptures. Why does the Roman Catholic Church fresco the sacred mysteries of the bible into the Sistine Chapel and why does this sacred geometry out of the first chapter of Genesis become the principle geometry of Saint Peter’s Square and Saint Peter’s Basilica?

            You forget in your remarks that people that read my works will see the science behind that sacred geometry in the bible for themselves and they will be able to decide for themselves whether I am right or not. Most important in their discernment of the sacred geometry in the sacred scriptures will delegate you as a complete idiot.

          • 50AF

            So, I stand not corrected, but rather confirmed. All you have done William is create your own personal religion and place upon it the label of Roman Catholicism, but it is quite clearly anything but Catholic.

            First things first. It seems I am correct, then, in my assessment that you view a historical and/or “literal reading” of the Bible as “nonsense.” To that point, above you called the stories of the New Testament “mythoi” and claimed that “the bible has nothing to do with human history.” Your statements, William, not mine. So I ask you again: Do you believe that Jesus Christ our Lord entered space and time, entered human history, and walked this earth, lived, breathed, suffered, died, and then rose from the dead and re-appeared to his disciples, exactly and literally as the New Testament describes? My understanding is that you do not believe that, but rather believe that the story of Jesus’s life on earth contained in the New Testament is a myth with only symbolic or interpretative meaning but no actual basis in fact or human history. If that is not the case, then state so here and clarify your statements suggesting as much. But if that is the case, then you can call that belief whatever you want, but it is not Roman Catholicism. And in fact, I would submit it is not even Christian, because the entirety of the Christian faith rises or falls on Christ’s actual and historical incarnation, suffering, death, and most importantly, resurrection. Without that truth and reality, Christianity ceases to be Christianity.

            Second, you claim to believe in the Catholic sacraments, and then proceed to redefine the sacraments to your own personal liking and in ways that bare little to no resemblance to the Roman Catholic understanding of the sacraments and the sacramental life of the Church, and in fact in ways that require you to have literally no involvement in the rituals and practices of the Roman Catholic church or any moral obligation to your fellow man.For example, you say the sacrament of Baptism is simply the reading and understanding of sacred scripture; of course, the Roman Catholic Church teaches something quite different. See, Catechism of the Catholic Church (“CCC”) at Sections 1213 – 1284. You similarly claim the Eucharist is simply the spiritual interpretation of sacred scripture, which is not only completely contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (CCC Sections 1322 – 1419), but rather offensive to anyone who understands — as the Catholic Church teaches — that receipt of the Holy Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The sacrament of Reconciliation, according to you, is simply your own admission of sin to God in whatever way you prefer, and the only content of sin is having a false belief in God (which I assume to be any belief that does not stem from your own interpretation of scripture). You do not believe sin involves any concept of transgressions against God or your fellow man or any moral code whatsoever — which is nice work if you can get it, but of course the Roman Catholic Church very much teaches otherwise (CCC at Sections 1749 – 1917).

            I could go on, e.g., the odd and curious claim that Christians created the Old Testament (not Jews), the rote and constant dismissal as “iconoclastic” anything Catholicism does or teaches that is contrary to your particular understanding of scriptures, and then the plainly bizarre and unintelligible statements that pepper your writings here (e.g., “[i]t is up to the individual to regain his soul via the Al-chemical Mystical Marriage of Christ,” or “every set in the Fibonacci sequence is a two to three ratio and Christ (spiritual is in DNA molecule)”).

            But the point is, what you preach here is certainly not consistent with Roman Catholicism, and I don’t think it is even truly Christian. It is, at best, Meeganism, a personal spiritual construct of your own making designed to confirm, ratify, and justify William John Meegan, not witness to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. I feel awkward writing these things in this forum because it is not what this forum is about, but I call you out because you have a history of putting forth your beliefs as Catholic (when they are anything but Catholic) and using this wonderful forum as a platform to dress and proclaim error in pseudo-intellectual terms that can mislead and confuse the faithful, and then chastising, with the most vile anger, anyone who dares to question the validity of your statements from a Catholic or Christian understanding (e.g., praying that I burn in hell for eternity). I just don’t think that should go unanswered.

          • William John Meegan

            I call the literal fundamental iconoclastic reading of the bible nonsense: i.e. PROTESTANTS Martin Luther’s followers. I do not call the WORD OF GOD nonsense, which can only be read via iconography. Did you know that the sacred scriptures can only be read in the indigenous languages LETTER BY LETTER not word by word???…

            You obviously do not know that you are mandated by COMMON SENSE AND LOGIC to meditate upon what you read. I have been studying the first chapter of Genesis for more than 40-years and I can tell you I have hardly tapped it resources. You fly through the sacred scriptures at the speed of summer lightning. It is really not a wonder, to me, that you know nothing.

            Go on the INTERNET and type in PINEAL GLAND and the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Maybe what you’ll learn will smack you upside the head like a two by four for nothing short of a two by four will ever get your undivided attention. You basically have the attention span of a gnat. I truly believe that you have ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER; for the reason that, you pay attention to nobody but your own ego.

          • 50AF

            “… the WORD OF GOD … can only be read via iconography. Did you know that the sacred scriptures can only be read in the indigenous languages LETTER BY LETTER not word by word???.”

            Where is this taught by the Catholic Church, William? Where?? You are free to believe whatever you want to believe, but you can’t believe this and call it Catholicism.

            Why don’t you just answer the question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ our Lord entered space and time, entered human history, and walked this earth, lived, breathed, suffered, died, and then rose from the dead and re-appeared to his disciples, exactly and literally as the New Testament describes?

          • William John Meegan

            If you have any intelligence whatsoever beyond your nincompoop mind, you should already know that in both the writings of MOSES and SAINT JOHN that to add or subtract from the WORD OF GOD is blasphemous.

            Every single translation of the sacred scriptures beyond their indigenous languages use to scribe the WORD OF GOD into the Old and New Testaments are blasphemous; for the reason that, they take from the sacred scriptures the numeric and symbolic designate of each and every single letter from both the Hebrew and Greek alphabets used to scribe the Old and New Testaments.

            Deuteronomy 4:2

            Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

            Deuteronomy 12:32

            What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

            Proverbs 30:5-6

            Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

            Revelation 22:18-19

            The previous verses quoted were from old testament books. The final book of the Bible was the book of Revelation. It is physically the last book in the Bible, but it was also the last book written in the Bible (90 AD). Revelation begins with these verses:

            The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand. Revelation 1:1-3

            Revelation ends with these verses:

            For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.

          • 50AF

            So the Catholic Church does not teach what you proclaim.

            And still you refuse to answer a simple, basic question that is fundamental to the faith of any Christian.

            Your silence speaks volumes.

          • William John Meegan

            I knew that my answer as to how the sacred scriptures (WORD OF GOD) are being destroyed through translations would get your Satanic jaws flapping again.

            Today Church’s hierarchy of sexual maniacs are NOT teaching the TRUE TEACHINGS OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

            My complaints are not against the teachings of CHRIST; rather, my complaints are against the hierarchy of the NEW PROTESTANT CATHOLICISM that teaches iconoclastic modes of thinking, which admittedly I am not a part of seeing I study the sacred scriptures iconographically. That is why I call myself THE LAST CATHOLIC.

            Because you are iconoclastic you any other NEW PROTESTANT CATHOLICS are the only ones that can POSSIBLY answer your questions the way you think that should be answered.

          • Phil Chalmers

            I join 50AF in just one comment.
            He is both wise, correct and charitable in his communication with you and gives every evidence of attempting to enter into loving dialogue with you, repeatedly.
            Your response does you no credit; your writings are heterodox and if they were able to get you a following they would make you a heretic.
            For those who have read the poison of your words on this forum, I have something important to say to them: based on 40 years as a disciple of Christ and a working psychiatrist you show all the hallmarks of insanity or diabolic delusion. I urge them not to fear but to understand that such as you cannot be reached by argument, logic or proof perfectly acceptable to normal people.
            You have been over-represented here and deserve to be banned from more contributions.

          • William John Meegan

            You have made the most ignorant statement you can ever make about me. I never wanted a following and I will never attempt to obtain one for that is Jesus Christ’s province and I could never even imagine living up to a moment of his ministry. I am just blessed by understanding a nuance once in a while of what he has said in his ministry. I so much don’t want any part of the world that I live in the midst of society but in total absolute isolation like a hermit. Here in the silence I study the sacred scriptures continuously. I think more about God and my Soul for the life that is to come.

            By the way I am not a psychiatrist. I never-ever pretended to be one and I never falsify my identity (the picture you see here was taken twenty years ago. Go on FACEBOOK and you see my picture at my present age of 67).

            I understand you know nothing of symbolism (iconography). I have pity for Catholics like you that are really Protestants actually believing you are different then other Protestant sects; but, really there is no difference. May God have mercy on your soul. HAVE A GOOD DAY.

          • amanda sanchez

            See the Gospel law of John below, his cannibal law and
            compare it with Torah law of God. Look for inconsistencies:

            3500 year old laws….

            TORAH [Genesis 9:4] “Only flesh with the life thereof which is the blood
            thereof shall ye not eat.”

            TORAH [Leviticus 7:26] “And ye shall eat no manner of blood whether it be
            of fowl or of beast in any of your dwellings.”

            TORAH [Leviticus 7:27] “Whosoever it be that eateth any blood that soul
            shall be cut off from his people.”

            2000 year old laws….

            GOSPELS [John 6: 53] Jesus said “Very truly I tell you unless you eat the
            flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you. Those who
            eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life and I will raise them up on
            the last day for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who
            eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. Just as the living
            Father sent me and I live because of the Father so whoever eats me will live
            because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that
            which your ancestors ate and they died. But the one who eats this bread will
            live forever.”

          • Anna Honor

            What a rude comment for a Christian to make.

          • William John Meegan

            You are flapping your jaws again Anna – go back onto your tattoo Rabbi’s forum.

  • Rhonda

    Entering into the desert….Jesus I love you, all I have is yours, yours I am, yours I want to be, do with me what ever you will. Prefect us Lord.

    • Elizabeth

      visual from dust we come to dust we return – all in nature – a seed grows in the dirt, blossoms then returns to the earth. Thank you for the visual Rhonda.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Such beautiful flowers. It reminds me that at the appointed time the desert does bloom.

      • Elizabeth

        that would be in this context, Easter Sunday!

  • Isabel Guadiz Tobey

    “Your life is not about you. It is about God and God’s purposes for you. ”
    Getting things straight at the outset sets us up to a good beginning this Lenten season. And yet the great Love paradox is the opposite: his suffering, death and resurrection is all about us!
    Everything he, Our Lord and King, Jesus Christ laid down for us- that we may have life everlasting with him in heaven! We were ransomed at so great a price! Christians, let us never forget!
    Lord, have mercy!

  • jesspinosa

    I’m as ready as can be. Jesus is in charge, I just follow. Daily Adoration gives me the strength I need.

  • Becky

    And how right you are Bishop…..your life is not about you! We are to lead others into the desert by our example. He called us all to be fishers of men! We must constantly rid ourselves of attachments in order to be transformed. Lent is an opportunity to wash ourselves clean of the world.
    God Bless You All
    Have A Blessed Lent

    • Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam

      God bless you, Becky.That line really hit me ” Your life is not about you”.Seems the more we seek ourselves , we are weighed by the world and prevent the work of grace in our lives like St.Paul hinted in today’s second reading.

  • Elizabeth

    So are you ready to visit your desert? Are you prepared to deal with your particular temptations to pleasure, power, money, and honor? Even if, in the past, you have not succeeded in the ways you wanted, remember that our God is a God of second chances. It’s never too late to start again.

    As a community of believers we are to set people free by spreading the Good News.

    And our role as believers is to pass on this message to others. To set people free by spreading the Good News.

    • Anton D

      Thank you for the interesting video.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Great Video Elizabeth I am saving it and watching it over and over. Thank you so much

  • Alfredo Castro

    Amen. I hope this lent will help us get closer to His will and not mine…

  • Elizabeth

    The responsorial psalm for today from USCCB in my estimation, is the purpose of Lent. We are being readied to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

    R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

    Give me back the joy of your salvation,

    and a willing spirit sustain in me.

    O Lord, open my lips,

    and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

    • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

      Hey E….. joy???? You got joy too? How else are we going to do this? NO other way to be joyful at Lent. This way your heart can be eager to do what Papa God says.

      • Elizabeth

        Amen stark61555

  • Kathy Lamb

    Dear Bishop, Imaging a desert is a little difficult when waking up to ice and snow heading out for morning Mass. One can imagine frozen hearts that could use spiritual melting. Thanks for your inspiring words and reminders this Ash Wednesday.

  • sleepy

    i, too, have a hard time imaging a desert – but i have no difficulty imaging the aloneness of the desert…

    “Do Nothing out of Self-Will


    greatest works are worthless in My eyes if they are done out of
    self-will, and often they are not in accord with My will and merit
    punishment rather than reward. And on the other hand, even the smallest
    of your acts, done with the confessor’s permission is pleasing in My
    eyes and very dear to Me. Hold firmly to this always. Be constantly on
    the watch, for many souls will turn back from the gates of hell and
    worship My mercy. But fear nothing, as I am with you. Know that of yourself you can do nothing (Diary, 639).

    “My Prayer Response:

    “Lord Jesus, keep me on the watch for sacrifices to offer to You for the
    salvation of souls. I surrender my will to You. For without You, I can
    do nothing of value. To help me in taking up this charge, give me a good
    confessor to guide me.

    i received this message from lighthousecatholicmedia (Divine Mercy Daily) this morn as well…

    • Elizabeth


  • Andrew Kim

    I’m a high schooler in South Korea, and I’m struggling and really need someone like you-one with profound knowledge about God-to pray for me. All these secular things, for me they are schoolwork and standardized college tests, are separating God and me. And in Korea, there is this idea of competition-my grades are better, my job is better, my social status is higher-and I go to an international school so it doesn’t really matter. But even though it is an international school, 90% are Korean and they compete intensely. And my grades aren’t that good compared to others. But when I see others compete, I feel like a worthless person.
    And although I know that God will never let go, it’s hard because even though God always offers me a hand, it does not matter unless I grab that hand. And sometimes, when hard times come, I feel like God betrays me (Even though I know he doesn’t)
    Last thoughts; will God be mad at me for suspecting him and not trusting him? How does God expect us to survive in this secular, evil world? and please pray for me… I’m becoming like Anakin… like St. Peter.

    • Laura

      Andrew, remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! +

      • Andrew Kim

        I never realized words give such comfort. Thanks Laura. Your words are so so comforting. And AMEN!! God does strengthen us.

    • MikeHargadon

      Andrew, I am praying for you 1/2 a world away. That is how we both survive and thrive. God Bless

      • Andrew Kim

        Mike, when I read this, my eyes got a little wet because it is so heartwarming to know that there is someone praying for me half way across the earth. And it is so true, prayer is the way!! Lots of emotions. Thank you. God bless you too!!!

        • Karin

          Count on my prayers as well, Andrew. You are part of a huge family of faith.

          • Andrew Kim

            Thanks. All these prayers bring me to tears… Bless you sister.

      • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

        But isn’t God there? Smile. I am a trained teacher and just ask yourself when studying 1. what you know. 2. what you want to know 3. and what you have learned. Keep asking. That is true joy.

      • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

        Joy is not just surviving.

    • MariaG

      Andrew, I highly recommend a couple of books that may help you in your spiritual desolation. One is ” Spiritual Combat” by Lorenzo Scupoli….and the other: “The Imitation of Christ” by Tomas Kempis. You may order them through Amazon or e-books.

      I will pray for you…God Bless you🙏

      • Andrew Kim

        Wow man, the support!! I’ll definitely check those out!! Always heartwarming that people on the other side of earth is praying for me!! God bless you too

    • 50AF

      Andrew, you are suffering right now, and to suffer is to love. To suffer greatly is to love greatly. And to suffer with joy is to be a saint. Suffering is every bit the mark of a Christian as is joy. Indeed, suffering and joy are but flip sides of the same coin, which is love. The love that our God is, is a suffering love. The life that Jesus Christ lived for us was a life of profound suffering and injustice. And yet within that suffering, there was and is great joy. It is a paradox, but when we suffer we come as close to Jesus Christ as we can be. So what you are experiencing may feel like separation from God, but in truth I believe it is God calling you to come even closer to Him, to know Him even better than you already do.

      Take a deep breath. Do not let fear and anxiety and the silliness of the culture rule your disposition. Believe, pray, make regular use of the sacraments, and let the rest go to God. God will give you his grace and peace. Please pray for me, as I will for you. Pax, 50.

      • Andrew Kim

        WOW!!! I never thought of it this way!! I always thought suffering was opposite to God. Come to think of it, before suffering, I always thought to myself “I understand God now” but after suffering, everyday, I realize something new about our Lord. I will become stronger so that I become immune and get to know God more and more. And YES, I will put you in my prayer list. God bless you too!!

        • Janice K

          Andrew I to have cancer and offer my pain up to my family and those who need God’s love. I have placed you and Barbara on a Worldwide prayer group called Soldier’s of Mary’s Rosary. Know that we will be praying the rosary for you every night. God’s Love be with you and Mamma Mary’s love also

    • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

      Andrew: isn’t God there already? Think about that. Get joyful about that. Get joyful that your talents are still good. Very good that I can write you this and tell you that God is there already! You can smile about that. When you see this is peace. Those people don’t see this. He wants the best for you. It is not about the secular and being miserable. It is about acknowledging him and knowing that God knows what is in there and you don’t have to be scrupulous and worry but you can compete with Him. He can show you what is there. :) Have fun with it. God delights in US.

      • Andrew Kim

        Yeah… I sometimes forget that God is always there. Amen Brother, I’ll try opening up my ears to God more. God Bless You. I’ll also pray for you!!

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Andrew your post brought me to tears. I could have written your post 56 years ago. I lived with those thoughts for fifty years. They drove me to the brink of suicide. God reached down and saved me from suicide when I was diagnosed with cancer and given 4-9 months to live. I by chance (meaning God’s intervention) found a surgeon doing I new kind of surgery. It was risky and the my Dr.s told me that I had little to no chance of survival. Many people were praying for me. When I came out of that surgery I remember distinctly hearing God’s quiet voice saying “your sins are forgiven you” Andrew In this year of Divine Mercy please get a Divine Mercy Chaplet and pray it every day Part of the repeated prayer is “Jesus. I trust in you” I will remember you in my prayers.

      • Elizabeth

        Hi Barbara Ann, nice being on again with you. What a beautiful testimony of faith. Continue to Grow in faith with the Grace of God.

      • Janice K

        Barbara I will place you on the Soldiers of Mary’s rosary a worldwide prayer group that I helped to start after the catechism in a year 3 yrs ago. If you would like to join go to www. A person named Barbra will accept you registration. I pray for successful and uneventful surgery. God’s love be with you.

        • Barbara Ann Baugh

          Janice it is so wonderful to see you back again this year I have so enjoyed your. I will certainly look to your prayer group tomorrow and it is nearly dinner time here.

      • Andrew Kim

        Barbara, your comment on my post brought me to tears. and I’ll pray for you as well. This testimony gives me confidence!! I love that phrase “Jesus I trust in you” thank you for praying for me. Bless you.

    • Elizabeth

      Anakin Solo kills his father …Judas – was blinded by his wanting a powerful king and not wanting to accept Jesus mission gave Jesus over and you know the rest of the Lenten story.

      Anakin Skywalker sacrificed his own life for his son, therefore becoming one with the force…St. Peter On the other hand, denied Jesus because of fear for his own life. When he recognized his “Sin” he asked God for forgiveness.

      Andrew you are being human. We go on this roller coaster ride throughout our day. Keep your eyes on God then the doubts you have about “Not good enough” will fade away. Try to remember there will always be someone higher or lower than you. That is not your concern, your concern is to stay steadfast in loving your God and he in turn will bless you beyond human understanding. Just like a diamond is made from pressured coal, you will be made stronger by your trials and tribulations. God is a merciful God; he will not let you down.

      Mercy is what God wants to give each and every one of us. When we recognize this unconditional love of God is for each and every one of us, it is then we are set free.

      • Andrew Kim

        That is so sweet Elizabeth, I cannot express enough how thankful I am that God sent wonderful people in my life that prays for me. I appreciate it very much!! I’ll pray for you too. Bless you

        • Elizabeth

          And I appreciate your prayer as well, Andrew. May the Force be with you .

    • William John Meegan

      God never expect you to compete in the secular materialistic world. If your grades are not that great then your mind is on something else. Something else in the world enamors your psyche. You are more interested it then your school work. I am not saying that is wrong; because, that may be where God wants you to put your interest. What is in the world that you would devote your life to? You can chose that to be your raison d’etre and bringing that to God can be amalgamated into your GARDEN OF EDEN.

      It matters not what other people think of you in the world; though, that is the accepted STATUS QUO. It is more important to develop a one-on-one relationship with God. That is hard to understand especially since you have gotten all the way to college. It is something you have to work out with your relationship with God. DESIRE IS PRAYER. But DESIRE is also doing what is necessary to accomplish your intended goal. if you are not participating in that aspect your prayers to God you will never be successful in obtaining your goal. A lot of people don’t know what prayer is. LIFE IS PRAYER. Prayer is not begging for THIS, THAT AND OTHER THINGS nor is it dancing, singing, crying or begging around the altar of idols. Prayer is actively working towards your goal with sincerity of heart.

      • Andrew Kim

        thank you for your words of comfort. Now I finally realize, God was working in my life. God sent people like you to pray for me. I feel blessed.

    • Dude_Abides

      Hello Andrew, yes the angst of youth, nicely articulated; you are a honest seeker of truth, good, very good indeed! Many wonderful heartfelt replies already given, thought to add my few pennies worth. When you are going through times of self-doubt, and believe me as I am several decades older than you – these times of SD will come throughout your life; stay close with God, read your Bible/Scriptures, pray/reflect and draw inspirations from the prophets, the Blessed Mary, mother of God, and the Saints. The fact that you are asking these questions at an early age, as stark61555 and others have mentioned, shows that God is working on you, setting you up for something to come into your life that you may have no clue right now what it will be. Ask God for his guidance and to put you in a place where you can best serve him. Too often when we pray we ask our Lord for what we think we need and not for what he knows we require.
      Know that if you stay in the faith, if you choose to be a true Catholic you are taking a path of a contrarian (I use this word as it reflects the teaching’s of Jesus to his disciplines – reference Luke 12:22-34). Not an easy path. Also understand as Jesus often preached that much of the world we live in is that of contrived illusions! Man-made, a world of self adoration and glorification unto man, not God. Know this, but always attempt to live in a state of humility and piousness.
      If I may implore you to checkout some writing’s from the Rev. James Martin SJ; “Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints” plus “My Life with the Saints” and “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life” – I never grow tired of his stories/writings. These are relatively inexpensive and can be gotten off the usual web-stores for $6.00-12.00 dollars (ebook or paperback).
      Andrew, in your last paragraph you asked: “How does God expect us to survive in this secular, evil world?” Well, I ask that question to myself invariably at times. What I am finding is that it is a call from God to me to serve him – in any way I can; within my Church and its associated Ministries and the community I live in and also to seek out other people who are doing the same. To touch someone everyday with your faith. Please have a look at this current saint of a man; Dr. Tom Catena – NY Times article ( ) and Facebook page ( ). Draw inspiration from the works of others and continue with the process my young brother.

      • Andrew Kim

        I love BOOKS!! (Well… I am a very slow reader) but yeah… I’ll check them out. Thank you for your wisdom. An advice from an elder is always great. You seem to know a lot about God (That’s pretty cool) Bless you and thank you for your prayers. I’ll pray for you also.

    • Dawn Grimes

      I will pray for you this Lent Andrew. Remember the mustard seed … your faith need be no bigger and God will* not abandon you.

      • Andrew Kim

        A very good parable, the mustard seed!!! I will keep the mustard seed in mind. I will pray for you as well. Bless you

    • Valerie Yvonne

      If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

    • Sarah George Mathew

      Andrew, I appreciate that you are a young person and thinking deeply about things that matter – in a world that rejects God. I’d like you to look to the saints, and see how many of them struggled but never took their eyes off God. And they are always near you with their prayers for you and God is always with you till the end of time. So know that you are NEVER alone. God bless you and we will keep you in prayer.

    • Joseph Pasquino

      You’re in my prayers. I am a cancer survivor. You must be strong and constantly ask Jesus for His help. Offer your suffering to Him and you will share in His suffering. God Bless and Help you.Remember Our Blessed Mother. The Rosary along the Chaplet of Divine Mercy are very
      powerful. I keep you in my prayers
      Andrew. Joe p.

  • MariaG

    Thank you my Lord for allowing me to enter the desert once again…! Help me oh God to empty myself so I can be filled with your unconditional LOVE and infinite MERCY as to do your WILL.

    Holy Spirit, continue illuminating Bishop Barron, whose guidance we so desperately need, along with everyone participating of this wonderful journey.

    Bless us Lord, amen! Peace to all!

  • my2cents

    I share on my Facebook page every day.

  • Beverly Hagar-Schmerse

    I have experienced the Lenten season more times than I care to remember…each time I have entered in with a different “supply pack”…sometimes the journey was very fulfilling; and sometimes I felt like I had imploded on impact during it. But as you can see, I am here, though not unchanged. Somehow the Lord of the Universe has restored, replenished, recreated me. And this same truth is also, for all of His creation. I enter into this season with trepidation. I acknowledge my fears, concerns, and failures…but I know God and His representative on earth, The Church, will lovingly, graciously, and firmly bring me through this “desert experience” just as they have in the past. My “pack”? I will “up” my time and my attention to others…trying to be more of the person that I believe God wants me to be.

  • Vilma

    Amen to that! I’m ready for the desert! Trying to make this Lent a time of further transformation. Placing all my trust in Him. Thanks be to God!

  • Dianne

    Thank you Bishop for sharing your gifts with the world. Every time I hear you or read something you have written, my hope is renewed and I honestly can say my soul has been set on fire over and over again…literally brought back from the dead! An authentic sign to me, the Holy Spirit is genuinely at work here and Amen to all that was said today! Let all be stripped from us until nothing remains save God Himself!

  • Dude_Abides

    Amen thank you Bishop Barron as we start anew. Lent from the Middle Eastern word lenten which means “springtime”. I think about this time as rejuvenation and illumination when reading your writing’s. I also reflect on the writing’s from a little booklet by Bishop Fulton Sheen, Lenten Meditations. For Day 1 our Lord is knocking on our door. Allow him to enter in.
    “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.” Rev 3:20
    May we all open our doors to the Lord.

    • Anton D

      ‘ Lent from the Middle Eastern word lenten which means “springtime”.’

      I did not know that. Thanks

  • Patrick Cassidy

    The Jewish religion is so big on numbers. 40 is the number of great transformation. 40 days and nights for Noah and the Flood. 40 years of wandering in Exodus. 40 days in the desert for Jesus. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide, and strengthen, us all as we begin our Lenten journeys. May we always remember that man cannot leave on bread alone, but by every precious word of God!

  • Anton D

    For a moment I was afraid that this year you may not have these very valuable reflections. Due to the late notification may be.

    But I Thank God again and Thank you Fr. Barron for your reflections and another opportunity this lent.
    May God Bless you and the ‘Word on Fire’ team.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      Yes indeed I am so thankful. I had trouble accessing this site yesterday

  • Maureen Shannon Robertson

    I am so in need of this Lenten season! Focusing more on Jesus, than myself! Building better spiritual habits. Looking forward to the journey to become closer to our Lord!

  • rtclovesmac

    This has always caused me to stop and assess my life’s blessings….while I have had struggles, there has been nothing so overwhelming as to strip me of those distractions that seem to impede my relationship with the Lord…not that I am asking to be crushed or broken…but is what I have been through and will go through the weight I can bear because of the Lord’s grace…or my refusal to surrender completely to His Will? I am happy Lent is here.

    • Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam

      I think tough times are a crucibles that purify us and draw us closer to God.I am currently facing some hardship but I offer it up to Our Lord and tell him to bless everyone around the world that is suffering.

      • Barbara Ann Baugh

        Anthony It is because of these past Lenten reflections that I can now face my current life-threatening situation.

        • Anton D

          May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    I am beginning another Lent in pain. I am uniting my pain with Jesus on the Cross I am scheduled for surgery next Wednesday and another surgery on Holy Thursday.

    • Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam

      Good one, Barbara.My prayers are with you.May the Lord be your consolation and your healing .Amen.

      • Barbara Ann Baugh

        Thank you Anthony

    • Deng

      As Father quotes “your life is not about you. It is about God and God’s purposes for you.” Offer it all to our LORD JESUS CHRIST and it is going to peaceful and joyful.

      • Barbara Ann Baugh

        Thank you Deng. for your encouragement. Because of these reflections this Lent will be spiritually much different then the Lent I spent in the hospital disappointed that I could not participate in the Lenten Services. This year I embrace look on my pain as a special way to celebrate Lent just a little closer to Jesus

  • Anthony Ekene Onyeahialam

    Thank you Bishop Barron for this reflection.I really love the idea of the desert and the spirit of detachment that it inspires in me.After attending mass this afternoon in Lagos and walking through the streets of my neighbourhood, I observed how the ashes on my forehead caused some stares.I am very shy so I felt a bit embarrassed. However, I tried to flip it and turn it into something to think and pray about.

    It is the material things the world is usually attracted to – money, power and pleasure.But now, many are noticing the ashes which could almost pass for dust, a lot of which you will find in a desert.

    This kind of reinforced in me that God is present in everyone and He shows us himself from time to time.But we have become so distracted by the cares of this world that we hardly recognize him.Hence we have a great opportunity this lenten season to rid ourselves of these things and return to him with all our hearts,(Joel 2:12) everything.

    In addition, we have to make our repentance an active one by a life of sincere and deep prayer and avoid the hypocrisy that Our Lord condemned in his day.Still, it is the desert that enables us to do this: the desert of our hearts free of human respect and the desire for recognition.

    Dear Lord, thank you for this Ash Wednesday. Have mercy on us for we have sinned against you.Draw us into the desert with you and detavh us from the vain cares of the world.Create in us pure hearts never hardened but always receptive to your word.May your Grace upon us this season not be in vain.Amen.

    “Anything that does not lead you to God is a hindrance. Root it out and throw it far from you.”
    – St. Josemaría Escrivá, The Way 189

    • Elizabeth

      Today at Mass, Anthony, our pastor’s homily started out with his saying he lost his glasses, so all he sees in front of him are images. The question: How do we see people – within or external. The wisdom God gives us is to recognize the light shining in each and everyone of us – even if small in stature.

  • DianeVa

    What a merciful and patient God we have…we simply begin again each time we fall. Our destiny is life in Christ, with Christ and through Christ! Mold me and shape me into what You created me to be!

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

    Oh, I love that it is you that is moderating this. I am dancing around that you are doing this. Why? It is nice that a ” BISH” IS DOING THIS AND not just a “know it all mommy blogger” :) High five to you in Cali over there. :)
    Desert? I think it is a desert to be miserable. I am in Florida and see so many miserable people coming in here for a vacation. They don’t know what joy is. The Joy of the Lord is our Strength. Lent should be joyful and hopeful. So smile. We are going to learn a lot. Get ready. :0 Got to love how God works.

  • JATK

    Why no mention of women….you named seven men. We have matriarchs as well as patriarchs.

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom stark61555

    NOTHING LIKE reading this while I am waiting for a phone call from the Midwest. :)

  • MeInME55

    A sense of additional peace has come to me in the enlightenment that my life is not about me. I am ready to strip myself of all temptations and enter the desert as I start again. Amen

  • Anne B

    As we begin this journey of LENT, let’s all pray daily for one another who journey along, that we may be supported by our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Karin

    During today’s Mass and through this reflection, I am grateful and humbled to hear the call of Jesus to follow him into the desert – where my relationship with the Father can deepen, where I can become more rooted in His purpose for me. May we as Church tune out the noise and distractions in our lives this Lent to better see to what or to whom we are clinging. May the Lord’s faithful presence with us in the desert, help us let go of the empty pursuit of pleasure, power, money or honor and turn us more radically toward Him.

  • Linda Dokey

    I come to You O Lord, sinful and sorrowful, I want to do Your Will. Amen

  • Don Carriker

    This is a particularly significant beginning for me because I am committing myself to a project that I know, because my pastor has recommended it, pleases God. It is a difficult project that will make great demands of me. Without prayer, penance and God’s grace I will never succeed in it. But I know He is pleased that I am setting forth on this project and will give all the grace I need if I but pray to conform to His will.

  • Yolanda

    I am ready to commit myself through this Lent journey, and when temptations come may I have the strength and courage to run to my Father for help. Holy Spirit guide me.

  • Deng

    I will journey in to the desert to find my true me for as you quote father”Your life is not about you. It is about God and God’s purposes for you. “

  • Randy MacGeorge

    No great theology or message here, just an odd admission that while I read this reflection, “Horse With No Name” by America started playing in the background of my mind.

  • rtclovesmac

    I will keep you in my prayers. God makes all things good!
    Remember…what you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.

  • Sean

    What I have always found difficult is determining what to sacrifice as a worthy offering. Am I doing enough? Am I trying to do to much? Most times, if not all the time, I have failed miserably. I hope I’m not alone with this difficulty as I never have had a “good” Lent. I want this one to be different. Any insight would be much appreciated.

    God Bless

  • Norma

    To me its very hard to enter into the dessert and l leave everything behind. Specialy because we are so close to St Valentine and we tend to consume more than we need. But on the other hand, we have to keep trying, our will has to be stronger than all the advertisements.

  • Sarah George Mathew

    My life is not about me – but about God’s purposes for me – I needed to hear that. Thank you, Bishop Barron.

  • Joseph Pasquino

    During Christ’s sojourn in the desert;we bear witness to His desire to prove Himself. A sacrifice in accord with His Holy Father’s Will and to serve as an example of how important self denial really is. It brings us closer to Our God,the King and Center of All Hearts. What better a path to follow on our individual sojourn through our desert of isolation and pain ever leading all to Our God of Love!!!

  • Patricia Robertson

    I am struck by the challenge you once again present–to strip away attachments in our deserts. When I think of fundamental things, I always go back to Micah simple dictum: “what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” This Ash Wednesday meditation points the way to that–I head toward that core of all religions, compassion, by allowing myself to be stripped of the attachments that keep me afraid. When I am caught in fear, I am my most self-centered. But I also have to let go of my attachment to the outcome of this particular Lenten journey. Only after the attachments are gone can I begin to see what is fundamental. All I can know, at the beginning of this Lent, is that an openness to God is always the foundation. My task, this day and every day is to follow that most basic of texts, Benedict’s Rule, and just be sure through the practice of Christian discipline that I am present at the time and place of my encounter with God.