A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord. Before anything else I think we should consider the grace of the desert, the blessedness of the desert, which right from the beginning of grace has deserved to be consecrated to the repose of the saints. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, John preaching and bestowing the baptism of repentance in the desert, certainly consecrated for us his dwelling-place in the wilderness. Yet even before him the solitude had always been dearly loved by the holiest of the prophets as a place where they could listen to the Holy Spirit. But a far greater and more divine grace came to the desert to sanctify it when Jesus took the place of John.
If you have fled away to remain in the solitude, continue to stay there; wait for the One who will save you from pusillanimity of spirit and the storm. However much the storm of battles may assail you, however much you may feel the lack of sustenance in the desert, do not, because of pusillanimity of spirit, return in mind to Egypt. The desert will feed you more abundantly with manna, that is, the bread of angels, than Egypt with its fleshpots. Jesus himself fasted in the wilderness but the multitude that followed him into the desert, he fed often and in a wonderful manner. And much more frequently and in an even more wonderful manner will he satisfy the needs of all of you who have followed him into the desert and whose service is all the more pleasing, since your purpose is so much holier.
When you think that Jesus has forgotten you for rather too long, he himself, not unmindful of his goodness, will console you. Then he will make your wilderness a garden of delight.
By the wonderful favor of God’s loving care, in this solitude of ours, we have the peace of solitude and yet we do not lack the consolation and comfort of holy companionship. It is possible for us to sit alone and be silent. We are surrounded by companions, yet we are not in a crowd. We live, as it were, in a city, yet we have to contend with no tumult, so that the voice of one crying out can be heard by us, provided that we have interior silence to correspond to the exterior silence that surrounds us.
From Guerric of Igny’s Fourth Sermon for Advent, CF 8, pp 22-24.