Renunciation, solitude, and the persistent desire for God are not among the current virtues in American culture. Most of us are looking for more immediate satisfactions and, above all, for personal happiness. Perhaps this is why the very notion of the wilderness and ascetic life seem a denial of all we hold dear. Yet any human being who lives long enough with the shocks, collisions and changes of life knows that there are rhythms in our existence we cannot escape: seasons of plenty and seasons of want, of ecstasy and despair, of joy and tribulation, of life and death. The mystery is that this is what the Lenten journey reveals.
- Dr. Don E. Saliers, William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship, Emeritus at Candler School of Theology, Emory University