"This is no simple 'how-to' book, but rather a profound challenge to consider a totally different kind of life. Lawrence Hart approaches these life changes from several different angles-each leading to the deep kind of knowing that is God's gift to the true seeker." -from the Foreword by Jean Dalby Clift For thousands of years, deserts have been geographical centers of spiritual formation and direct encounter with God. In Christian spirituality, men and women seeking the kind of purification that leads to wisdom of the heart have sought out the desert places. But the desert is also a state of mind or consciousness, a spiritual practice, an inner place where we come to have a first-hand experience of God. Designed for use by small groups or individuals, the Lenten meditations in this book lead us to this interior desert. The forty days of Lent are a time of metanoia (repentance), of emptying our hearts so that they can be filled with that love and presence of Christ we celebrate at Easter. Entering Lent, then, can be imagined as entering the silence of a vast and empty desert that leads to an experience of "alleluia."
What is essential in the spiritual life is, of course, not that we find a dry and sand-blown country far from any geographical city, but rather a desert place of the heart where spiritual transformation can occur. Lent, with its emphasis on taking spiritual inventory, repentance, renunciation, and preparation for Easter, is just such a desert. In fact, we can appropriately think of the forty days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday as a Lenten desert.
LAWRENCE D. HART is an Episcopal priest and rector of Saint George in the Glenn in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. A former psychotherapist, he studied at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Hell's Abyss, Heaven's Grace: War and Christian Spirituality.