Today is the First Sunday in Lent. The first line in the Gospel is the first verse of Matthew chapter four:
“At that time, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.“
“Tunc Jesus ductus est in desertum a Spiritu, ut tentaretur a diabolo.”
That’s right. God the Holy Ghost led God the Son into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus was human in every way except sin; yes, He was really tempted. That is the plain meaning of the words. This is why, when we pray to God the Father in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation…” IT IS NOT A MISTRANSLATION OR MISTAKE IN ANY WAY.
What this also tells us is that to be tempted does not mean to sin. There is no sin in the temptation. That part isn’t your fault, as long as it is unwanted, even if it is borne out of your own past actions. Why does God permit temptation? So that we might harness and conquer, in order to grow in holiness. Temptation isn’t going away, folks. So you better learn how to deal with it like a warrior. You are in a holy war, whether you like it or not.
“Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace: that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in seasonable aid.” Hebrews 4:14-16
When in the confessional, we vow to “sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.” This means to battle temptation of course, but not just in some passive way. He expects you to act: if necessary retreat, flee, get out of your present physical location, take a walk, even if you feel you’ve partially given in, just STOP. In the meantime, set aside time to make better habits. You know yourself, so you know exactly the things that are holding you back. Beg for graces, pray to your Guardian Angel, run to your Mother.
The beginning of understanding comes in the Tract, from Psalm 90. Blessed Sunday, everyone.
TRACT Ps. 90:1-7; 11-16 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High shall abide in the protection of the God of heaven.
V. He shall say to the Lord, “You are my support and my refuge; my God, in You I trust.”
V. For he hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters: and from the sharp word.
V. He will overshadow thee with his shoulders: and under his wings thou shalt trust.
V. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night.
V. Of the arrow that flieth in the day, of the business that walketh about in the dark: of invasion, or of the noonday devil.
V. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh thee.
V. For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways.
V. In their hands they shall bear thee up: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
V. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk: and thou shalt trample under foot the lion and the dragon.
V. Because he hoped in me I will deliver him: I will protect him because he hath known my name.
V. He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation,
V. I will deliver him, and I will glorify him. I will fill him with length of days; and I will shew him my salvation.