Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Spirituality of lent which overcomes temptations
‘Be off Satan, For Scripture says: You must worship the Lord your God and serve him alone’ (V.10)
Spirituality is one of the most discussed topics all over the world. Today there is a great hunger for more authentic spiritual life. Christian spirituality is centered on the ‘salvific act’ of Jesus Christ. It is an experience of ‘Christness’ in our day to day life and also an awareness of our relationship with God in faith and the ways in which we live in that faith. In the West Syrian liturgical tradition, spirituality is viewed as ‘a way of divinization’ which draws a person closer to God through the spiritual practices such as prayer, fasting, meditation, alms-giving and sacred silence. All these practices enable the faithful to experience ‘life in Christ’. Temptations are part and parcel of our life which follows us as a shadow throughout life. Spirituality of lent emphasizes the need of spiritual strength and Almighty’s grace to overcome the temptations of each day. The passage which deals with the temptations of Jesus teaches how to face temptations in our life.
‘Experience of desert’ enables us from deserting life
The mission of Jesus arouse from 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, which was a time of contemplative listening to the silence, to his own thought and temptations, to Scripture and to his Father. It was a preparation for his mission. Through the contemplative listening to the Father, Jesus could frame the action of his ministry. Lent is an opportunity to enter into the positive aspects of desert life which includes fasting, prayer, contemplative listening, sacred silence, meditation and alms-giving. It demands a deep and intimate relation with our God. Our human nature is flawed. There is a weakness in us that can lead into slavery, clinging on to our own desires and addictions. A deliberate desert experience is essential for a healthy spiritual life where we examine ourselves: our thoughts, words and deeds and thereby gets clarity on our mission.
‘Life with Word’ is vital than ‘life with bread’
In this passage the gospel writer uses figurative language to explain the temptations of Jesus, which gives us the idea that temptation is a natural thing in our life and we have to resist it with the power of the word. The temptations that Jesus endured were human ones that we are familiar with: temptations to use talents and abilities for the purpose of wealth, popularity and power. Jesus battled against the power/culture of instant gratification, pseudo-fame and momentary authority and came out triumphant with the word. This passage tells us that his word is essential for life. The word of God will set us free, because it is a word of love, a word of life. The word of God is a powerful weapon to resist the tempter and it helps us to gain freedom, freedom from the weakness and evil within us and the tendencies that would enslave us.
In the midst of abundance and the culture of instant gratification we need to train ourselves to follow a counter culture, strictly to say no to certain things in our life which derives from the pleasures and pressures of this world. We need to learn the vital importance of self-discipline. Lack of self-discipline in life will end up in misery, disappointments and end in darkness. The fundamental idea of lenten spirituality is to discipline ourselves so that we can lead life to the fullest. Lenten spiritual practices enable us to attain spiritual strength and help us to resist the evil.
Prayer: O Lord grant us your strength to stand against the temptations of the present. Help us to gain spiritual strength with the power of your Word. Enable us to be true witness of your power and glory. Amen.
Thought for the Day: Temptations is an opportunity to witness and demonstrate the divine power.
Rev. Jameson. K, Dublin, Ireland