In this issue:
The Scriptures describe God’s Word like a fire that draws a lonely searching traveler to its warm and comforting presence or as a pillar of light in the desert that dispels the gloom of darkness, danger, and death. Moses encountered both when God spoke to him through the burning bush that was not consumed and when Moses led his people through the barren wilderness for 40 years with the pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to guide them safely to the promised land of rest and security. John the Baptist foretold that when the Messiah came he would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3:16). The Lord Jesus dispels the darkness of sin and death though his life-giving word and purifying Spirit.
The forty days of Lent is the annual retreat of the people of God in imitation of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. Forty is a significant number in the Scriptures. Moses went to the mountain to seek the face of God for forty days in prayer and fasting. The people of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years in preparation for their entry into the promised land. Elijah fasted for forty days as he journeyed in the wilderness to the mountain of God. We are called to journey with the Lord in a special season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and penitence (expressing true sorrow for sin and wrongdoing) as we prepare to celebrate the feast of Easter, the Christian Passover of Jesus’ victory over sin, Satan, and death.
Growing in lively faith, firm hope, and fervent charity
The Lord Jesus gives us spiritual food and supernatural strength (faith, hope, and love) to seek his face and to prepare ourselves for spiritual combat and testing. We, too, must follow in the way of the cross in order to share in the victory of Christ’s death and resurrection. As we begin this holy season of testing and preparation, let us ask the Lord Jesus for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit so that we may grow in faith, hope, and love and embrace his will more fully in our lives
Sincerely in Christ,
Image credit: man approaching a burning tree, © Kevin Carden at ChristianPhotoshops.com
Don Schwager is the editor of Living Bulwark and author of the Daily Scripture Reading and Meditation website. He is a lay religious brother and life-time member of the Servants of the Word.