Every major figure in scripture has spent time in the wilderness in preparation for the mission that God has called them to. The wilderness is a place to learn how to, “Be still, and know that I am GOD.” Being in wild places removes most of the artificial buffers that distract us and keep from truly connecting to and understanding the world, our neighbors, and God.
St. Augustine said that, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Here at COR we refer to the outdoors as “God’s First Book,” the bible, of course, being His second book and we consider it to be just as vital to read many pages of His first book as it is to read his second for He speaks to us through both of them. Thus, just as it is good to spend much time in prayerful study of the scripture so as to better understand the word of God, so also it is good to spend time filled with prayer and thought in God’s first book.
It has been our experience at COR that being removed from one’s usual environment and being placed in the discomfort of the wilderness has an effect that goes far beyond the time spent there. The wilderness presents opportunities for change and growth that would never arise in an environment of comfort and normality. Many have learned more in a short time in the wilderness then they have in months or years of study.
It would be easy to go on and on about how the wilderness is the best setting for learning virtue, discipline, fortitude, prudence, justice, charity, ingenuity, integrity, endurance, teamwork, detachment, selflessness, leadership and a whole host of other skills and traits. However, to do so would be to miss the big picture; to miss the fact that coming on a COR trip is embarking on a life changing journey. All men and women are called to be saints and yet none of us are born saints. We all have a long journey ahead of us if we are to make it to heaven.
So whether you are well on your way to heaven, are just getting started, or have not yet taken your first step toward the person of Christ, we invite you to prayerfully consider taking the next step of your journey immersed in the silence and glory of God’s first book along with all of us here at COR.