The Desert is Anyplace Where We Go to Find Ourselves.

“The desert is anyplace where we go to find ourselves.
Desert Moon
Thomas Merton writes: “The desert was created simply to be itself, not to be transformed by men into something else. So too the mountain and the sea. The desert is therefore the logical dwelling place for the man who seeks to be nothing but himself – that is to say, a creature solitary and poor and dependent on no one but God.” (From “Thoughts in Solitude”)

The desert was once thought of as the dwelling place of the devil, the place where the insane would wander in delusion.

“Thirst drives a man mad and the devil himself is mad with a kind of thirst for his own lost excellence – lost because he has immured himself in it and closed out everything else.” (From “Thoughts in Solitude”)

Entering the desert is the only place we find ourselves, because nothing else is there.

“The Desert Fathers believed that the wilderness had been created as supremely valuable in the eyes of God precisely because it had no value to men. The wasteland was the land that could never be wasted by men because it offered them nothing. There was nothing to attract them. There was nothing to exploit.” (From “Thoughts in Solitude”)
Merton Thoughts
People wandering in the desert die, not because of the desert itself, but because they fail to recognize that the desert will provide them nothing to sustain them. Even those who think they are prepared often find out that they are wrong. For life in the desert is not given – it is earned. It is a life of effort and cooperation between the person and God.

Our desert is no longer the wilderness, but the life of despair, struggle and fear that is our modern life. This we must wander into, face down and not give in to. It is only in confronting life in this way, struggling against our foes in our own desert that we participate in the grace of God.”


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