This week, our reflection deals with Conquering Temptation and this topic is quite pertinent especially in this season where we are required to make some sacrifice for the Lord. Of course, it is known that the evil one will try everything is his powers to prevent this from taking place. As such, just as how he tempted Jesus while in the desert, he constantly pokes us with his lance until we give in, but before I proceed, let us remind ourselves of the powerful scripture verse taken from 1 John 4:4, 'Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world'. The 'He' that is in us who we speak of is the Holy Spirit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As Christian people, we often forget that we have the companionship of Jesus Christ as it is clearly stated in Romans 8:11, 'The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.'
Jesus Christ was both human and divine, so in addition to being blessed, he also experienced natural human-like emotions such as anger, sadness and of course temptation among others. But, we are reminded from last Sunday's Gospel from Matthew 4:1-11 that despite the luring statements made by the tempter (Satan), Jesus overcame them because he had the Spirit of God with him to strengthen him and fill him with the necessary grace to resist any temptation that assailed him. Like Jesus, we all will experience temptation in our very own lives. There is no way that a human will not face some form of temptation because Jesus himself endured it. Temptation often creeps up on us when we suffer some form of addiction and the moment we try to make a concerted effort to break it, Satan comes in to entice us until we eventually give in; and the moment we give in to temptation, Satan gets the better of us and we become the laughing-stock in his evil eyes.
As Catholics, one of our main priorities is to NEVER allow Satan to have victory in our lives. How are we to ensure that he sees defeat at all times? Jesus overcame temptation in that desert by using his greatest weapon of choice, the gift of prayer. In his 40 day/night stay in the desert, he was praying all the while and so, the Spirit of God sustained him and Jesus shares with us his weapon of choice; It is up to us to outstretch our hands and not only accept it but use it. The gift of prayer is so powerful because it is that moment where you and God converse and the more we pray, read the word to know more about God and defend ourselves as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11 and receive him in the Holy Eucharist, Satan will always try but will always be defeated because the Spirit of the Lord is with us. As for those addictions that may seem hard to break, always remember that Christ is bigger and more powerful than all things, even the addictions that we face, just pray and ask him to grant you the grace to break them and call on the maternal help of the Blessed Virgin Mary and ask her to make you more like her son- pure, holy and spotless.
During this Lenten season, we will face many temptations because, as mentioned earlier, it is during this time where make extra sacrifices for Jesus and Satan does not like that, but we must strong in the faith and guarded in prayer because the evil one is prowling like a lion looking for vulnerable ones. Be strong in the Spirit and call on him. Glory to God!
--B. Durham, 2014