Sunday, March 1, 2009

(En)countering Temptation

First Sunday of Lent
Mk 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him...
First, a few explanatory words from New Advent

"Temptation is here taken to be an incitement to sin whether by persuasion or by the offer of some good or pleasure. It may be merely external, as was the case of Christ's encounter in the desert after the forty days' fast; or it may be internal as well, inasmuch as there is a real assault upon a person's will power. It arises sometimes from the propensity to evil inherent in us as a result of original sin. Sometimes it is directly chargeable to the intervention of the Devil, who can furnish the imagination with its sinful subject-matter and stir up the lower powers of the soul. Not infrequently both causes are at work. Temptation is not in itself sin. No matter how vivid the unholy image may be, no matter how strong the inclination to transgress the law, no matter how vehement the sensation of unlawful satisfaction, as long as there is no consent of the will, there is no sin."

Further on, it expounds on how to avoid tempation:

Temptations are to be combated by the avoidance, where possible, of the occasions that give rise to them, by recourse to prayer...

Now this last one I believe is the most powerful weapon against temptation. Overnight, my mind was filled with murderous thoughts (a hyperbole) so that I had terrible difficulty sleeping. It had to do with extreme disappointment with some people whom I perceived were very passive in our mission, to the point of being in dereliction of our covenant. The very people whom I thought should be leading the charge! I was thinking of ways in telling them off in no uncertain terms during our next meeting.

Anyway, after a fitful sleep we missed our usual Sunday mass schedule at 7:15am and went for the next one at 8:30am. My wife and I found out that the family assigned to lead the prayers of the faithful were not there, so we took over, together with my son who was then serving as a Sacristan. After communion as I knelt down in silent prayer, just then something went over me. I suddenly realized I was allowing negative thoughts to control me. There was another way and it has to be "in His steps". That moment was a WWJD moment for me. I thought about Jesus' 40 days in the desert, and then I thanked God. Tonight I know I will sleep blissfully.

1 comment:

aeisiel said...

Temptation is a clear indication that we have free will. To be tempted is to exercise that God-given gift.
It can either make (by resisting the test thru cooperation with God's grace) or break (giving-into by rejecting God's grace) us.