The Temptation of Jesus in the desert.
The wine cellar is fitted with a wine press to squeeze out the juice of the grapes in order to obtain from them those precious wines which we have been speaking of until now. Indeed, using the wine cellar as a type, was not the Heart of Jesus put under the wine press of a most cruel suffering? And, does not all the profit which comes from his sufferings - to make an application from our comparison - flow from that source into our souls? I have trodden the winepress alone. Of the men of my people not one was with me. My beloved in Jesus Christ, it is time for us to submit the vineyard of our souls to cultivation, to toil willingly under the pressure of present trials. The love of Jesus, represented by the wine, will take away our lethargy, will provide against our dejection, and will give us strength and comfort for the journey to our dear home in heaven, where we shall rejoice triumphantly without end. Let these sentiments be impressed upon the minds and hearts of each one of us. Let the image of the wine cellar remind us to fulfill our obligations by corresponding to a God most lavish with his gifts. With our thoughts concentrated on a most accurate examination of ourselves, may he animate us toward the cure of our spiritual maladies. May he help us aim at the sublimest degrees of sanctity. Since the King of Glory has brought us into this banquet hall, let us establish here our own peaceful abode in time. Also, let us re-enforce the foundations of the holy city of God with the bonds of charity. Let us remember that the nuptial bed of the peace-loving King is the Cross, and, that our souls upon this nuptial bed yearn for the most tender embraces of affection toward Jesus. He has redeemed us through love, has shed all his Blood in love, and through him we have a mystical dwelling in his heart. The king has taken me to his banquet hall, and the banner he raises over me is love.
We do not like to be in trouble. The desert is a lonely place. We despise difficulties, and we abhor struggle and hardship. There has to be some medicine for this headache. There needs to be found some escape. Can not there be an easier way than this. We fill our lives with so much activity, noise, entertainment, possessions, anything to avoid the pains and the difficulties of life. Everything is designed to give us relief, and to make our life easier. How do you spell relief?
Love is not easy and easy love never endures. To truly love one must give of themselves, letting go of demands and judgments and opinions and expectations. We struggle to do this, but this is precisely who Jesus is and what Jesus does.
We do not imagine a God who struggles. We find it difficult to be with Jesus when he is in trouble, but he struggles to find a way to our hearts, and he is troubled by our distance from him.
He faces the struggle directly. He does not shrink away. He shows us to tools he uses to stand against the winds and shadows of this world. In the face of evil he holds up the word of God. . This is not just a collection of words or a quoting of scripture in the wind, but an immersion in the truth that there is more to life than bread, and that serving God benefits us with his grace. The Word of God here is the expression of a living, direct, tangible, personal, human, intimate relationship with God.
He calls us to the desert to face our struggles directly, emboldened by his confidence, armed with his word and strengthened and nourished by his blood.
- What are the present trials and struggle to which Jesus and Gaspar have called me?
- What are the medicines and distractions I use to avoid the struggles and pains of life?
- How would I describe my commitment to knowing the Word of God intimately?
 Fifth Circular Letter, 1831
 Is 63:3
 Song 2:4