Ariditas

On the feast of St. John of the Cross.

A friend told me recently that, in Hebrew, the word for "call" is related to the word for "desert."

The image that came to mind, immediately, was a little shelter—dimly-lit and warm—at the desert's edge, keeping the dark at bay. The sort of shelter we find in our own minds; the sort of shelter, perhaps, that David tried to build for the Lord of Hosts.

I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.
(Ps. 136)

Here, Lord. I have built a house. Please come in the dimensions I have framed for you.

What I can rationalize, what I can feel, what someone somewhere at least has done or felt or known: the ceiling is low, Lord, but I can touch it. Let this be my salvation.

Thus says the LORD: It is not you who are to build the house for me to dwell in.
(1 Chronicles 17)

He would coax us from our little understandings to glory—of sun, and wind, and innumerable stars.

But what happens in that wildness blossoming beyond our control? What happens when our little candles are snuffed out on the plain?

Can we bless the darkness for reminding us that He is the light?

Can we bless the silence for filling our hearts and our bones until we are like pools poised for His breath?  

When our hearts are like caves, unfeeling and empty, let us remember that Elijah heard God in a cave—and that it was in a cave that Christ was born.

Blessed be God for the wilderness within.

Blessed be God for the desert curved like an ear to His voice.

Blessed be God for calling us to dwell in His heart.

Jessica McCaleb