Day Four. Thursday, February 20, 2020
I’m tempted, Lord.
Silence. Find a quiet place in your house, at work or school, or best, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Breathe slowly. Relax. Imagine that your cares and concerns are being placed in a box where they will not be forgotten, where you and God can together seek to solve them at the right time. God’s time. At the beginning, it may be helpful to set a timer. Three minutes of silence is probably a minimum. It could seem long at first, but hopefully becomes more peaceful as you get used to the silence. This time of silence and focus on breathing is like stretching before exercise.
Ask God to come into your heart. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Seeking Jesus is at the heart of all prayer, even if we do not always realize it.
Today’s Scripture. Matthew 4:1-11. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Today’s Reflection. We all experience temptation. Even Jesus experienced temptation. An important part of the temptation of Jesus was to name them. That is, to acknowledge them for what they were: attempts by Satan to lead Jesus away from God the Father. Temptation takes on many forms. In the gospel, we read, sometimes temptation takes something good and twists it. Eating bread is good. But becoming a magician by turning stones to bread, thus not doing the Father’s will, is not. Satan even uses one verse of the Bible to tempt Jesus. But the Word of God is living and effective when it is deeply connected to a relationship with God. Other temptations so obviously lead us away from God. Worshiping Satan, regardless of the temporal reward is never justified.
Part of deciding what to do during the season of Lent is to name your temptations. In what ways are you tempted to turn away from God? And what do you need to do to open yourself more fully to God’s grace?
Sometimes we view Lent as an exercise in willpower. Can I give up chocolate for a few weeks? Can I turn off the TV for a short time? But if we are really to have a spiritually great Lent, we must start out by asking a different question. We need to ask ourselves, in prayer, in the presence of God, what we need to do to be more open to what he wants to do for us?
What keeps us from entering more fully into a relationship with Jesus? Not enough time for prayer? Then maybe I need to limit some other aspect of my life to make room for him. If I give up TV for Lent, do I use the time I save in ways that deepen my relationship with God and with those I am called to love? If I give up chocolate or candy, what do I do with the money I save? Do I give it to charity, or does it simply allow me to buy more chocolate or candy later?
How does Satan want to take you away from a relationship with God? That is his goal. Think about what you can do to use the grace of God just as Jesus did when he was tempted.
Our Father. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by the name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory Be. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Today’s Challenge. Identify a temptation that keeps you from being your best self and resolve to think about how you can face this temptation during Lent.
Intentions. Lord, remove from my heart everything that is not of you.
Closing Prayer. Lord Jesus, you were tempted in the desert for forty days. How easy it would have been to give in. You are hungry. What is so wrong with making a little bread? But you know the danger. You know there is something much more necessary than bread – the Word of God. You know that doing the will of God, regardless of how hard it might be, is the real good in our lives. Help us, Lord, to face our temptations in a way that leads to new life, a new life given to us because of a deeper relationship with you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.