Before Jesus began His time and ministry leading up to His Crucifixion and Resurrection, He went out into the desert to pray. Our modern day translation of the desert conjures up images of tumbleweeds and cacti, hot and dry. But deserts in the Bible don't mean a literal desert as much they wilderness and solitude. Thus, when Jesus goes out and into the desert, He is choosing solitude so that He can better focus on God. Jesus is choosing solitude, abstaining from society.
What does that mean for us?
As we honor Jesus' time in the desert with our own forty days of prayer and fasting, let's try to seek solitude as He did and abstain from society. We choose God over our own culture and society, and in doing so, we are going to dive into characteristics and actions our society deems good, but God wants us to avoid.
Independence, hypocrisy, a hardened heart, judgment, a need for proof...
These are all things that society encourages from us, but our Catholic faith calls us to abstain from. People have faith have always had to walk a difficult line; we are designed to be social creatures but we are called to not trip into what our society has normalized and praised. And I think that, in a nutshell, is what makes Lent such an important time for Catholics. We mark ourselves as Catholic on Ash Wednesday and dedicate ourselves to forty days of selflessness.