Explain to children that St. John sought wilderness as a calming place, because he felt connected to God when in nature. Ask children to imagine a setting where they can go to contemplate. Invite volunteers to share some of the details of their personal spaces, such as the color of the space, if the space is indoors or outdoors, if it is a known place or not yet discovered. Have children write a brief paragraph describing their personal wilderness, a place they can call their own to pray, mediate, think, and relax. Encourage children to draw a sketch of their personal wilderness and invite volunteers to share their finished drawings and descriptions.
Point out to young people that St. John is contemplating and deep in thought in this work of art. Say: Often we may feel that there is so much to remember, to think about, to dwell on. It is important to allow our minds to wander over our thoughts, and to simply be. Have young people write a list of questions and thoughts they have in their minds. Remind young people that this list is private and they do not have to share. Encourage young people to put on paper all that they think about, even if they don’t know the answers or what to think about a specific topic. Say: Let your thoughts just come to you, free of judgment. When you’re ready to think about one of your questions, ask God to join you. Encourage young people to meditate on or journal about their questions to better know themselves and God.