How To Be Above Temptation

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

There used to be an anti-drug campaign whose mantra was "Just Say No". If only things were so simple when evil solicits us. We have to be able to say "No". And we have to be able to say why we are saying "No". We see both things in the temptation of Christ. He could send the devil away with such dispatch because fasting had made him strong. And he sent him away with such authority because he was armed with the Word of God. No matter what the temptation - to turn stones to bread or to worship the devil or to cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple - he could say why it was to be resisted: we don't live by bread alone; God alone is to be worshipped; we should not put God to the test. The flattery with which the devil addresses Jesus - "if you are the Son of God" - shows us the irony of the temptations. Jesus is the Bread of life. Jesus shares the one divinity which is to be worshipped with the Father and Spirit. Jesus cannot test his Father, because his mission is to be tested on our behalf, so that flesh that failed in Adam should win the victory in him. We aren't "above temptation" by our humanity, which is always frail, but by being in Christ.

Reflection based on Luke 4:1-13
Father Guy Mansini, OSB

O God our Father, grant us such faith in your Son
that we may share his power and resist whatever temptation
of pride or sense comes our way.

Today's suggested penance: Spend ten minutes reading the Bible.