Christ is the model for our fasting, Christ in the desert,
and the kinds of temptations we can expect to encounter
Deuteronomy, Chapter 13, Verse 5
The LORD, your God, shall you follow, and him shall you fear; his commandments shall you observe, and to his voice shall you listen; him you shall serve, and to him you shall hold fast.
How do we follow God? First follow Him not because you fear Him but that you revere and have awe for all He has created. Out of this revere with love obey all His commandments of which the two greatest are to love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.
What is God’s voice? The self-absorbed are deaf to the voice of God but alive to the voice of the adversary. Therefore to hear God you must not only listen to the Holy Spirit but also see and hear those who are people of God around us. The above verse states that we are not only to hear God’s voice but to listen.
Is there something the Lord is calling you to this Lent?
The Commandments of God
- Have I doubted in matters of faith? murmured against God because of adversity? despaired of His mercy? Have I believed in or consulted fortune tellers? Have I taken part in non-Catholic worship?
- Have I used the name of God or the saints with irreverence? Have I sworn (which means calling upon God to witness the truth of what I say) without a good reason, or falsely? Have I cursed (the calling down of some evil on a person, place, or thing)? Blasphemed (used insulting language to express contempt for God), the saints, or holy things?
- Did I miss Mass on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation? Have I done unnecessary servile work or been responsible for others doing it on these days?
- Have I been obedient to my parents and lawful superiors? Have I shown disrespect toward their God-given authority? Have I deceived them? Have I been a good citizen by voting? Have I shown respect toward aged parents?Have I used my authority over inferiors properly? As a parent, by good example in the home and by sending the children to a Catholic school? As a person in public office, by promoting the common welfare? As an employer, by being considerate of the employees?
- Have I been the occasion of another's sin through my bad example in word or deed? Have I been guilty of fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, or drunkenness? Did I refuse to speak to others? to forgive them? Did I use provoking language?
- Did I take pleasure in impure thoughts or desires? Say impure things? Listen to impure conversations? Did I touch others or let others touch me in an impure manner? Commit an impure act alone or with others? Want to look at impure things or pictures? Go to bad places? movies that were bad? Read bad books? Go with impure companions? Teach others to commit sins of impurity?
- Have I stolen anything? If so, of what value, and did I return the stolen goods? Have I been unjust in buying or selling? Have I damaged the property of others? accepted or kept stolen goods? paid my just debts as soon as possible? Has my daily work merited its pay check? Have I desired to steal anything or to damage my neighbor's property?
- Did I tell lies? Have I been guilty of rash judgment (believing something harmful to another's character without sufficient reason)? detraction (without a good reason, making known the hidden faults of another)? calumny (by lying, injuring the good name of another)?
- Have I recommended myself regularly to God? Neglected my morning or evening prayers? Omitted my religious obligations because of human respect? Presumed upon God's mercy in committing sin?
- Have I read books or papers opposed to the Church and her teachings? Did I make use of superstitious practices; such as believing in dreams, and charms, and the like? Have I spoken irreverently of persons (priests or religious), places (e.g, the Church), or things (the sacred vessels) which especially represent God?
First Sunday of Lent
2. The "pinnacle of the temple" (in the upper left corner), recalls the pride of usurping God's power, of trying to live beyond His reach. We must topple ourselves from the pinnacle of pride and lift ourselves up by prayer to the pinnacle of God Himself.
3. The "kingdoms of the world," are those who covet mere earthly "glory." To offset this temptation there must be almsgiving or devoting one's talents to the service of one's neighbor.
The Epistle exhorts us not to receive "in vain" this plan of personal reformation, first by warning, then by encouraging us in the eternal struggle between Christ and Antichrist.
Excerpted from My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood
Deliver us from temptation
What is temptation? Temptation is an inducement to transgress the commandments of God. Temptation comes from our own concupiscence (James i. 14) “for the flesh lusteth against the spirit” (Gal. v.17.)
How does the devil tempt us? He moves the natural concupiscence to such sins as he sees men particularly inclined to, and then deceives and confuses the man’s mind, that he may not see clearly either the temporal loss, or the dishonor and danger of sin. He can, however, do nothing but what God permits. St. Augustine therefore compares him to a chained dog that can hurt only those who put themselves within his reach.
Does God also tempt us? St. James says (i. 13), “Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God; for God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man. But He allows us to be tempted, sending us manifold trials.”
Does God permit us to be tempted beyond our strength? No; for He combats with us, and gives us always as much strength as is required to conquer temptations, and even to gain advantage from them (i. Cor. x. 13).
When do we consent to temptation? When we decide of our own free will to do the evil proposed; as long as we resist, however little, we do not consent.
What are the best means to overcome temptation? 1. Humility and prayer. 2. The consideration of the suffering which follows sin, and of the happiness which awaits those who resist temptation. 3. Invoking the aid of the Blessed Virgin, our guardian angel, and all the saints. 4. Praying devoutly, “Lead us not into temptation”, and calling on the holy name of Jesus.
The weapon of prayer
We can see how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there’s not a moment of the day when he tempts us more than when we’re at prayer. He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer. However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he’s certain to have that person for himself. (St. John Vianney)