Go HERE for 33 Days of Morning Glory Reflections of Week One…
We are one week away from Lent. A time of prayer, fasting, and renewal. And Peace is not far off when it is the Peace that comes from Christ.
“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Phil 4:7
This is our time to PREPARE! Prepare for what? Purification, repentance, RENEWAL…
The Great Culling of this past century through war, genocide, abortion and euthanasia has saturated the soil with the blood of innocents and brought humanity once again to a decisive and “apocalyptic” hour.
This struggle [of the “culture of life” vs. the “culture of death”] parallels the apocalyptic combat described in [Rev 11:19-12:1-6, 10 on the battle between” the woman clothed with the sun” and the “dragon”]. Death battles against Life: a “culture of death” seeks to impose itself on our desire to live, and live to the full… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, 1993; vatican.va
Intrinsically linked to this culling is The Great Poisoning whereby the greed of man has used “the field” of the earth to his altruistic advantage. And thus, at this hour, Our Lord and Our Lady have called forth messengers all over the world to summon the “Noah’s”—all those whom God finds favor with—to enter the The Great Ark. And who does God find favor with? Anyone who trusts in His mercy, in His Word, and lives accordingly:
Without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) ~Mark Mallett, And So, It Comes
To begin, I find it helpful to ask the question: What exactly IS Lent? To answer this question, I turn to the following three sources: The Catechism, The Bible, and the human heart.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church States [ emphasis added ]:
Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way satan proposes to Him and the way men wish to attribute to Him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” (cf. Heb 4:15) By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert. CCC§540
Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. We are told in Luke, chapter 4 that,
“And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing in those days…” ~Luke 4: 1-2
The time of Lent is 40 days, not including Sundays (which are the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus), and they are days when the Spirit of God is hard at work within us just as He was in His Son, Jesus, during the first 40 days.
Everything that Jesus did we go through on an almost daily basis. It is Jesus’ response to these temptations that are a model for us. For example, in the chapter previous, Jesus was baptized with water and the Spirit, so too are we now baptized with water and the Spirit –
Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… cf. Mt 28:19b
So, let us pay close attention to what temptations; three in all which represent a wide variety of temptations that have the same root: pride in self and lack of faith/trust in God. Satan attempts to hit Jesus with all of these but Jesus responds to each of these three temptations providing us with the best response we can give when satan tries to tempt us. Note, and I’ll bring this up again, but it proves conclusively that the Tempter really didn’t know who Jesus was thus proving even more his ineptitude. 🙂
What did Jesus during those 40 days? We read in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 4, verse 1, He ate nothing in those days…because when, they were ended, He was hungry… So did Jesus eat right away? Nope. He had to face great temptation by the great tempter himself, satan. We read,
“The devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” ~Luke 4:3
This is really important. The arrogance of satan playing upon the humanity of Jesus, who was also God, speaks volumes to the rest of us who are HUMAN yet made in the image and likeness of God,( cf. Gen 1:26). When we deny ourselves sustenance for the Kingdom of God (and not at our own peril), we have made the CHOICE to wait on God to give us our daily bread (cf. Mt. 6:7). In other words, we TRUST in Him to provide what we need and when we need it.
Jesus provides us with a great clue as to what that is and how we can receive His goodness. Plus He give us the words of response to this first temptation to break that chosen fast,
“And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone.’ ” ~Luke 4:1
This goes on to say,
“but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” (cf. Deut 8:3c).
Reminder: WHO is the WORD of the LORD? St. John the Beloved Disciple tells us,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and TRUTH;…” (cf. John 1: 1, 14).
It is the WORD of God that feeds us for,
“[His] flesh is true food, [and His] blood is true drink…he who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I abide in him.” (Cf. Jn 6: 55-56, NAB)
The answer for us is…Have you been to Mass lately and received the Eucharist? When was the last time you opened the Sacred Scriptures (a.k.a. the Bible) and read what’s inside and “digested” the food therein? When was the last time you turned off the noise in your life and sat quietly to talk with God (a.k.a. Prayer and the Classroom of Silence)? If the answer is anything but, “All the time…”, then you have something you can do for Lent… ALL OF THE ABOVE!
Satan tries again, because if he is anything else, satan is definitely incorrigible. Taking Jesus to a high-spot and showing Him all the kingdoms of the earth in a single look, satan says to Him,
“To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall be yours.” ~Luke 4: 6-7
Temptation No.2, sounds an awful lot like what is happening in today’s world, doesn’t it? People are turning away from God, His Love, and His Law to receive this false promise that A FALLEN ANGEL has authority and power over God’s creation and can give that authority to whomever he wills?! Since when does God give His creation to A FALLEN ANGEL with the power or authority to do whatever he wills? Satan cannot give what he does not have, PERIOD.
Jesus also KNOWS satan has no power and no authority because, after all, Jesus IS God. But He also knows that His children must be reminded of this TRUTH and an example must be set forth to help His children when their time of temptation to leave God, His Love, and His Law behind comes to them. So Jesus responds to satan with,
“It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’ ” ~ Luke 4:8 (see also, Deut 6:4)
This is when Moses reminds the Nation of Israel that they belong to God and therefore must give God what is due to Him, total love and devotion.
Did you know that because of Jesus’ death and resurrection that WE ALSO BELONG TO GOD and therefore, WE MUST GIVE HIM our TOTAL LOVE and DEVOTION? When someone does you a great kindness, do you not repay them a hundred fold out of the kindness of your own grateful heart? Sure ya do…
Well, we must also do the same for God. Therefore, do not begrudge abstaining from food or physical pleasure for the sake of the Kingdom. INSTEAD, strive to serve Him more completely in your daily activities with total LOVE and GRATEFULNESS. Lent is just such a time to do just that!
Then satan tried for the third and last time, because as I already said, the fallen angel is incorrigible! This time satan takes Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem and places Him on the highest pinnacle and says,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge of you, to guard you’. And ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” ~Luke 4:9b
I said I would address this later. Well, it’s later: ever notice how satan is completely incapable of acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God ? He’s always saying, “If you are the Son of God…” This is most important to remember, for the Apostle John tells us the same thing (1Jn 2:22-23): Neither satan nor his fellow, fallen angels can acknowledge Jesus as God or even as the Son of God. To do so would be to admit their own inadequacy and folly and more importantly, that they have no power of their own. It’s also safe to say that satan, having not the beatific vision, really didn’t know that Jesus was the Son of God. Remember, he was expelled from heaven before the full revealing took place. (cf. Rev 12:7-9; Lk 10:18; Is 14:12-20 – this one especially is an awesome reflection on how the brightest angel became the darkest demon)
Which then begs the question:
Why does mankind believe in the lie of the second temptation and worship satan for what satan cannot give?
RETURNING TO THE THIRD TEMPTATION:
Jesus, knows that satan has no power, has no authority, and is really now behaving like a spoiled child who hasn’t been able to get his way… you’ve all seen this, right? When a kid cannot get the attention they seek or the thing that they want, what do they do? They make STUPID comments like, “Yeah, well why don’t you just go jump in a lake?”
The tempter, satan, is really like a spoiled child who can now only taunt and make dumb comments. However, Jesus knows Himself and He knows the TRUTH spoken through the prophets because, He IS the WORD of God made flesh… So Jesus, instead of saying, ‘Be no more’, calmly responds with,
“It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” ~Luke 4:12 (see also Deut 6:16).
PERIOD…END OF STORY…thus satan finally departs and Jesus is attended to by God’s angles.
APPLICATION TO US?
Jesus once again demonstrates that when satan and his child-like temper tantrums begin, we too should turn away from his display and respond with the words of LOVE, something satan cannot and will not tolerate, thus making his exit from the scene a virtual guarantee. Jesus could have let humanity take over and try to argue with such a childish response, but He didn’t.
It’s much like that story recounted by Blssd. Fulton Sheen regarding his friend who was in a Soviet Prison Camp. If you haven’t read this story or heard it before, I HIGHLY recommend it!
So, are YOU ready to begin? As I stated in the last post: March 1st is Ash Wednesday. The first of 40 days reflections will follow on Monday, March 6th with reflections following. Hope you can join us! As usual, I’ll have other Lenten reflections available to give the reader a wide variety to meet your busy schedules. 🙂
PLUS, the Lord has impressed upon me to also do a few 33 Days of Morning Glory during Lent, especially with the 100th Anniversary of the appearance of our Lady at Fatima. So there will be a lot going on at this website for the next several months. Bring family and friends along and get yourself passage on the Ark of the New Covenant!