Second Meditation for the First Week of Lent

Duccio di Buoninsegna. The Temptation on the Mount, c. 1311.

The best of us have let our degraded culture seep into our souls. Every exertion and choice is monitored. Will it enhance my pleasure? Will it increase my inconvenience? Will it make impermissible demands upon the house my indulgence has built? So pandemic and deep are these inroads that children no longer compete for prizes, but all are given prizes for participation. Professors are mandated to inflate grades, lest students feel unaffirmed. Our very language has soured of the slightest expression that might ruffle the delicate feelings of anyone. Language police have even invented a crime for unintended verbal offense: microaggression.

To this sybaritic people Mother Church presents Our Savior hungry and exhausted in the Sinai desert. Forty days of trial, ending with a titanic battle with Satan. A stark episode to teach us a stark lesson. Our life here is warfare. Like Our Savior, Lucifer’s temptations are never farther away than our next thought, or choice, or action. Not to fight is to offer ourselves as a sweet dish to Satan, only to be dragged into his realm of darkness.

Fortify your soul. Race to the sources of grace. Christ and Satan both hunger for you. Who will you satisfy?

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