Lent and the temptation of Our Lord in the desert



christ-in-the-wilderness-ivan-kramskoy-smThe Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent in the Traditional Latin Mass brings our attention to the 40 days which Our Lord spent fasting in the desert. Here I offer a few reflections from my prayer on this passage in addition to the common understanding that each temptation touches on the main areas that we all struggle with.

Driven by the Spirit

At His Baptism, we see the Holy Trinity gloriously revealed. The Father declares “Behold my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” while the Holy Ghost descends in the form of a dove. Archbishop Fulton Sheen points out that this is the only time when the Holy Ghost appears as a dove and that the dove was the offering of the poor for a temple sacrifice. This coupled with the “Ecce Agnus Dei” (“Behold the Lamb of God”) marks Jesus out as the sacrifice of the new covenant.

Jesus is then ‘driven by the Spirit.’ The use of ‘driven’ here implies an urgency, that baptism and the consolation of communion with the Blessed Trinity was the preparation for an urgent action.

Lord, that I would be as attentive to the prompting of the Holy Ghost. By your Grace conferred on my soul in the sacraments, may I live a life of patient waiting on you so that I may be driven by your will.

In God’s Time

The first temptation – “If you are the son of God, turn these stones into bread.” Our Lord responds saying that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

It is interesting that the first temptation is to do something that Jesus would eventually go on to do when He fed the 5,000. He will also give His flesh- the living bred for the life of the world. Jesus only did these things after the people sat at his feet and heard the word of God.

Lord that I would learn to submit my own needs and desires to your Holy Will. Even good things, without prudence and temperance can cause harm. Grant me an inward disposition by which I may discern your will and make it my own. 

The Devil tempted Jesus the throw himself from a tall building testing God’s promise of protection from the angels. Again, Jesus does not do this but as soon as Satan is gone, the angels came to minister to Him. Again we see that which Jesus resisted does come to pass but in God’s time and on God’s terms. This puts me in mid of the suffering of our Lord in the Garden when an angel is sent to comfort Him.

Lord that I would remember that you ask nothing of me which you do not exceed in grace. Lord increase my Faith, Hope and Charity that I may face all adversity for your sake and with your assistance. 





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