Fonticulus Fides

Monday, March 01, 2004

Thoughts for Lent

Fr. W, pastor of our parish, had some excellent things to say yesterday, and I thought I’d share one with you, because it was so helpful to me.

Yesterday’s Gospel reading, as I'm sure you remember, was on Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Fr. W took each temptation (turn stone to bread, take control of the kingdoms of the world, count on angelic rescue) and analyzed them a bit. He said something about the temptation of bread that I had never thought of before.

It was the end of Jesus’ fast (Luke 4:2 "He ate nothing during these days, and at the end of them, He was hungry.") Jesus was on His way back to civilization -- He could be sitting down for a meal in an hour or two, tops. So when satan came to Him and said "Turn this stone into bread," it was a matter of patience. Satan was counting on Christ to be impatient for food and thus to misuse His command.

And this is the temptation that we face so often in our modern society. On Fridays during Lent, we might be tempted to indulge in meat. Rather silly, really, since we can have our meat in just a matter of hours. But how easy it is to be swayed!

Likewise, things like premarital sex are common in our culture because people don’t want to wait until marriage. People steal because they don’t want to wait and work for the money to get whatever item they want. Others rack up huge amounts of debt at horrible interest rates because they don’t want to wait long enough to use their resources responsibly.

I could go on, but better to focus on the solution. Since such temptations prey on our impatience, Fr. W. says, the answer is to pray for an increase of love. Because as we read in I Corinthians 13:1, "Love is patient." Jesus, being perfect in love, was able to withstand satan’s temptation and wait a little more time to eat.

Being the Queen of Impatience, I found this to be a most helpful hint, not just for Lent but forever. I hope any of you who suffer from the same skewed perspective will find hope and help in Fr. W’s teaching as well.



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