THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
First Sunday in Lent
1 March 2020
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We have been baptized and confirmed to follow Jesus. Very often we confuse what the Sacraments do for us. Many think that with the graces of the Sacraments that they will not suffer temptations. They become greatly distressed when they find themselves assaulted with various temptations. Some are even driven to despair or loss of faith. The Sacraments are the weapons given to us to enter into battle. We must go forth to fight and resist the devils, the world, and our own fallen nature.
Experiencing temptations does not mean that we have failed or that God has abandoned us. It is often suggested that the higher we ascend in the spiritual life, the greater the temptations we will experience. The devils do not bother those whom they already possess. The devils go after those who are not in their grip. The closer we draw to God the greater efforts the devils employ to tempt us and destroy us.
It is not suggested that we foolishly enter into occasions of sin with the presumption that we have the power to overcome them on our own. We need not go out and search for temptations in this sense because we will fail. We will do well just to battle our daily temptations and not presume to add more to them. However, we do well to practice using the graces or weapons that we have been given. This Season of Lent we are asked to practice fasting, sacrifices, and various mortifications. If we can control our hearts, minds, and bodies, during this Lent (our spiritual "boot camp") we will be better prepared to face the temptations that may assault us throughout the rest of the year. As a soldier when he first enlists must go through training and the use of weapons, so we in our spiritual battles begin by training ourselves in the use of the spiritual weapons God has given us.
Jesus gives us, in today's Gospel, the demonstration of how we are to fight and how we are to overcome every assault. We see that when the temptations were directed against His human Person, Jesus was patient. He put up with the assault against Himself. When the devil asked Jesus to worship him, Jesus immediately casts him away "Begone Satan!"
When we are confronted by insults or injury to ourselves, we are to remain patient and long-suffering. The best method to repel a harsh word is to humble ourselves and patiently bear it for the love of God. When harsh words are not reciprocated the enemy is confounded. It is as if he has heaped coals of fire upon his own head. In his rage, he often becomes even more violent in his assault and thus only further harms himself. If he has not driven himself completely irrational, he should soon discover the futility of his actions and desist from doing them. Once his soul is calmed, he may even repent of what he has done, and we have helped to gain another soul for Heaven.
If we return insult for insult and injury for injury, we only perpetuate evil and sin. The insults and injuries become ever-increasingly severe. While our adversary increasingly harms his own soul, we similarly do the same to our own souls when we return his blows. The devils have us digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the depths of Hell.
We must speak the truth as Jesus does, but we must remain calm and peaceful. When we are tempted through bodily hunger, we should remember that it is the Word of God (Jesus Christ) that sustains us. It is through God that we have life and continue in life. When we are tempted to pride and vanity, we should remember that we must not tempt God. All the honor and glory belong to Him.
The third and last temptation that we see presented to Jesus is idolatry or the worship of the devils. The response of Jesus here was quick and decisive "Begone Satan!" Whenever we are faced with the temptations to: superstitions, false worship, or any assault upon God and His Church, this is where we must draw the line and cast the tempter from us. It does not matter what pleasures, riches, or power are promised, we must reject them all and act very forcefully and decisively. We cannot even consider this it is an abominable sin against the first and greatest commandment.
The devils have multiplied false religions so that there is almost always one that will appeal to our fallen natures and if there is not one the devils will help us start a false religion of our own. It is a demonic slogan that encourages us to "visit the church of your choice." This explains the neo-paganism in our world today, as well as the expansion of Islam, Protestantism, liberal and false Catholicism, Traditionalism and so many "independent" priests and groups. We must forcefully and decisively reject them all. There is only one God and only one True Church. We must stand fast even if we must stand alone. We must hold fast to what we know is true and reject everything else no matter how pleasing it may sound.
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