Saturday, December 10, 2011

Searching for God in the Desert . . .

Sinai Desert

Here is a bit more about the wilderness. It is by Father Pat McNulty, Priest of Madonna House, in Combermere, Ontario, Canada.

If I remember correctly, it seems to me that I have written at least one Advent article a year in this newspaper about the desert. Many of the details of my time in the Sinai back in 1976 are somewhere in all those articles; so I won’t bore you by repeating them.

But if you remember any of those articles, you already know that Patrick of Combermere was no Lawrence of Arabia, even though, like Lawrence, I did travel in the desert on a camel.

Well, actually I traveled into it by foot tied to a man who was on a camel. The camel wouldn’t let me mount, and since we were traveling at night, my Bedouin guide, not wanting me to get lost, had a long cord connecting my wrist to his.

Thankfully, with his stick to inspire the camel, we moved very, very slowly. But even in the dark at that speed, I knew I was in the desert—big time!

Advent is filled with the imagery of desert from whence John the Baptist came to "prepare the way of the Lord." I guess that’s why Advent always takes me back to my time in the desert.

Anyhow, my Bedouin guide took me to an area five hours into the desert by camel, and while I stayed there, he came once a week to bring me food.

In that area was the cave where I stayed and total, absolute silence. My guide stayed with me the first day to get me settled. Then when he "drove off into the sunset" on his 1976 camel, I learned what a panic-attack is.

There I was, alone in the middle of the Sinai Desert, without camels, curds, or a clue where I was! This wasn’t a movie! This was for real! What had I done? "Patrick," I said to myself, "You are in deeeeeeeep trouble!"

Click HERE to read the rest of Fr McNulty's article.


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