Listen to the talks by Laurence Freeman from the Bonnevaux Lent Retreat


The 40 days of Lent pick up a symbol of “40” in the bible and Islam as well. It is a length of time associated with a testing period, a probation, maybe with difficulties and challenges, but you sort of graduate after 40 days. The Israelites wander 40 days in the desert. Moses spent 40 days at the top of Mount Horeb when he was getting the ten commandments.

The 40 days of Lent pick up that symbolism but also, in particular, the story of Jesus, being in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights after his baptism as a preparation for his public life and his public teaching. A time of purification, of getting ready, a time perhaps to getting to know himself, coming to a kind of authority that self-knowledge gives us.

The retreat’s theme – ‘The Tightrope of Moderation’ – takes its inspiration from a need to be looking at the way in which we can retune, hold the centre and do so in a light and yet effective way.