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The Song of the Desert

“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

Open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see you.”


I sat on my little carpet square before the exposed face of the Lord and absolutely bathed in the glory of the precious sound filling the sanctuary. Surrounding me were many of the dear souls who come weekly to our youth program here in Harlem – and they were singing out loudly to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament with a tender, pure freedom. These children proclaimed from their hearts a desire to see Him and it pierced me deeply.


In many ways, what I heard as I sat there has struck me as the song of the desert.


The boys and girls we serve live not only the season of Lent but almost all of their days in a place of lack. They often want not just for food but for true, deep rest, peace in their home lives, respite during their school days, and, at the very depths, to be seen in it all. And yet, they come and they sit (mostly) still before Jesus and they sing. They allow their deepest longing to become a song – to be uttered aloud and made beautiful in a sweet melody. We could never make the children sing and a few of them even choose not to, which makes those courageous little voices directed to the monstrance before them that much more powerful. I cannot even begin to imagine how it rends His heart! He holds them in this place and provides the gaze they most long for.


This little moment has led me to ponder a question:

What if I entered in the rest of Lent with a readiness to sing out to God my own longing that is sure to ebb and flow over these days and weeks?


If I am entering into Lent as Jesus Himself did then I am freely choosing to follow the Spirit into the desert. I am freely choosing the probability, if not the certainty, of coming face-to-face with the places of emptiness, hunger, silence, loss, and weakness in my own heart. What if I sang to Him of the poverty I encounter within and of my aching for eyes to see Living Water flow over those dry, barren places? What if I trusted that even wordless, honest vulnerability before Him is itself the music He most desires and delights to hear? And what if I constantly called to heart His own song that has rung out from all eternity:


“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”


Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see you right here in the desert.

Receive my poor song, You who have never ceased to sing in love over me.


Madison, CFR Postulant

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