The Dry Rock

“See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the wilderness I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches. For I put water in the wilderness and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink.”
Isaiah 43:19-20

A month has passed since we were together to celebrate Candlemas, the final feast of the Christmas cycle. If you missed the evening, a recap and digital archive of our inaugural event can be found here. We now enter upon a new season of grace and a new opportunity for real conversion.

The Church follows Christ into the dryness of the wilderness with the expectant hope to discover streams of life-giving water. This is strange logic indeed: expecting to have our thirst quenched precisely in the setting that gives rise to seemingly unquenchable thirst. Not surprisingly, thirst (and its authentic slaking) marks the Sunday Gospel readings of this season right up to the Pascal Triduum:

  • The thirst of Our Lord as the wiles of the Evil One were leveled against Him – Matthew 4:1-11 
  • The thirst of Christ and His disciples after the climb up the Mount of the Transfiguration and the disciples witnessing the radiance of Christ’s divinity – Matthew 17:1-9
  • The intense thirst of Jesus at Jacob’s Well and a conversation about the restless search to quench a thirst for a higher love – John 4:5-52 
  • The thirst for sight of the man born blind and Christ’s thirst to restore and redeem – John 9:1-41 
  • The overwhelming thirst of a dead man, Lazarus, laid in a hewn out tomb of stone and his raising to newness of life – John 11:1-45 
  • The longing of Christ to share the Passover with His chosen band and His offering to them the Chalice of Salvation – John 13:1-15
  • The divine cry “I thirst!” upon the gibbet of the Cross, having poured His lifeblood for souls – John 18:1-19:42

Perhaps thirst can provide a spiritual theme as these forty days of Lent unfold along with our spiritual works of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. St. Thomas alumni who were privileged to spend a Spring Semester in Rome are well acquainted with the venerable tradition of the annual Station Church pilgrimages that pass by the countless and continually running fountains of Rome. 

Wherever you find yourself this Lent, be sure to follow Christ into the wilderness and allow your thirst to be incited. Contemplate with Christ the dry rock (rocca secca) of a world in need of redemption and the glorious and miraculous issue of water from stony hearts softened through penitence. May we know Christ’s thirst for us and may our thirst be for Him alone.

May our souls be athirst for the Living God, this Lent and always,

The Roccasecca Project