First Sunday of Lent
Isaiah, Chapter 41, Verse 10
Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Those that fear the Lord have a great love for Him. “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15)
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:5-11)
First Sunday of Lent
Christ is the model for our fasting, Christ in the desert, and the kinds of temptations we can expect to encounter.
1. The devil tries to tempt us with the bread of fleshly desire. "Now is the acceptable time" to "ration" our self-indulgence, our worship of physical culture, and to feed our souls with the Divine Word. This temptation calls for the mortification of self.
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 TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)
“The situation is desperate”, King Richard mentioned to Sir Michael. “The young knights have lost all self-discipline, they have no love or sense of duty for the kingdom and most of the people never attend the churches anymore.” King Richard didn’t mention it to Sir Michael but his one desire was to have his only daughter, “Dawn Tomorrow”, marry a Knight and see him Crowned King and Dawn be a mother to a Great Nation. Richard was a religious King, but due to the duties of his office he found it difficult to do much else then keep his Knights in check. He wondered if anyone would be found worthy to take the hand of Dawn Tomorrow in marriage. Utopia was a rich nation and the pleasures were many for all who could afford them. Even with heavy taxes being imposed; most of the peasants in Utopia led lives of relative richness in material things, but sadly most people lacked true happiness and so the King asked Sir Michael for his advice. Sir Michael thought about it and thought about it and could not come up with a solution to the problem. Than at last he came upon an idea. A Quest—he remembered the legend his mother told him of when he was a small boy. It was the legend of the Tree of Happiness. The Tree of Happiness, according to the legend, was also in the Garden of Eden when God banned Adam & Eve from Eden and although access to the Tree of Life was guarded by the Angels, it is said that man may still have access to the fruit of the Tree of Happiness. “That’s it”, Exclaimed Sir Michael. We will have a crusade to find the Tree of Happiness and bring the fruit back to Utopia. To be continued.
· Manhood of the Master-Day 1 week 4
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