Forty days and forty nights
The image of the Savior appears to be in certain desert like landscape, but it is not fully defined. The Lord wanted and needed to be alone. As He went to the desert to meditate and pray, the artist metaphorically isolates him in such a way that the surroundings also seem to disappear in a suggestion of forms, scarce vegetation and rocks.
Even when He had the privilege of being the Son of God, he made a personal effort to elevate his spirit and meditate at the beginning of His mission. It was a breaking point from a secular life to a full time mission. Jesus, assuming his role completely, claimed for a long time to receive divine help acknowledging that even He needed the help and favor of God. He even confronted temptations and had a moment of struggle when his human side demanded some physical needs, but the transcendence of his mission required a victory of the spiritual over the physical. This event required an intensity of self-control unsuspected to us.
During this trial, many of the things that we humans pursuit in life were present; power, riches, satisfaction. The Lord came out triumphant overcoming all temptations.
The two paintings invite us to reflection. If the Lord did it, we must do it too. We all need moments of isolation to achieve a complete connection or communion with the spiritual world to realize that there are things bigger than ourselves and that perhaps we are instruments in God’s hands to achieve His holy purpose.
We are all faced with contradicting needs and wants, especially when personal sacrifices must be done in order to benefit others instead of ourselves. It requires an intense mental and spiritual effort, and yes, it also requires Heavenly help.