Have you faced temptations this first week of Lent? You can take comfort knowing that even Our Lord was tempted! Temptations are not sins until we act with our wills. Every year we read about Jesus' temptation, but this year we are also given a reading about first fruits. This teaches us that the proper attitude of a creature is to receive from its creator and then give back again.
The devil tempts us to grasp instead of receive and to keep for ourselves instead of giving back. Picture little kids fighting over the same toy. We try to grasp what doesn't belong to us and then cling to it.
Now let's learn from Jesus. First, Jesus experiences his Father's love for him. Then he goes out into the desert. The devil wants to put a wedge between him and God. Jesus relies on God's power and not on his own wisdom or strength. We must, also, rely on God. And his power is closer than you think!
St. Teresa of Avila tells us that God dwells within the very center of the soul. "I was in the center of your heart," Jesus told St. Catherine of Sienna. We, however, are only vaguely aware of God's presence. Temptations invite us to move farther from God. But temptations are also a test. By rejecting temptations we can move closer to God every time we are tempted. Rely on his power and you too will overcome every temptation.
(6 Mar 2022)
Going Deeper: How do your temptations look different if you recognize that Jesus is dwelling in the center of your soul? The next time you are tempted, turn to Jesus who dwells within you.
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