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Speak Tenderly
My Heart



A Lenten Day
Reflection with
Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D.
Vicar of St. Columba's

February 22

10am - 4pm

Before the desert wilderness was a place for battling demons it was a place of renewal and fresh beginnings. As God assures us through the prophet Hosea:


16(14) Behold, I am going to seduce her,

and lead her into the wilderness

and speak tenderly to her heart.

17(15) There I shall give her back her vineyards,

and make the Vale of Achor a gateway of hope.

There she will respond as in the days of her youth,

as on the day when she came out from Egypt. (Hosea 2:16 [14]-17 [15])


Indeed, from the moment that Israel was led out from slavery in Egypt to the desert wilderness the purpose was so that they might worship God – that is to say, be in right relationship with God -- one of intimate encounter. From Hagar and Ismael, to Moses standing before the burning bush, to the prophet Elisha standing at the mouth of a cave listening to the “still small voice,” the desert wilderness provided a place of safety, refuge, epiphany, and liberation.

This Ash Wednesday we will reimagine the Season of Lent through the notion of “desert wilderness” as a place of intimate encounter with God in order to understand the value of solitude, quiet, and reflection as a time in which God speaks tenderly to our hearts. It is only from this authentic place of encounter that the ascetical practices of Lent can be properly understood and lived. It is when God speaks tenderly to our own hearts that an asceticism of love can finally be realized, as is beautifully observed by the British Carmelite Ruth Burrows:


In true love for our neighbor lies all the asceticism we need. Here is the way we die to self. What are the disciplines, artificial practices of penance and humility compared with this relentless pursuit of love? Perfect love of the neighbor means complete death to the self and the triumph of the life of Jesus in us.

(Before the Living God, 75).


Join us on Ash Wednesday at St. Columba’s where through presentations, personal solitude, group sharing and the celebration of liturgy, we will rest in the desert wilderness of our own hearts listening to the God who speaks tenderly to us if only we will listen.

Cost: $50
Includes Vegetarian Lunch 

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