Lead us not into temptation...

02-18-2024Pastor's LetterVery Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF, Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

Today, the Church celebrates the liturgy of the First Sunday of Lent. The Gospel presents Jesus preparing for His public life. He goes into the desert where He spends forty days in prayer and penance. There, He is tempted by Satan.

We must prepare ourselves for the Easter Triduum. Satan is our great enemy. There are people who do not believe in him, saying he is a product of our imagination, or that he represents evil in the abstract, diluted among people and in the world. This is definitely not so!

The Sacred Scriptures speak of him many times as a spiritual and concrete being. He is a fallen angel. Jesus defines him by saying: “He is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) St. Peter compares him to a roaring lion: “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.” (1 Peter 5:8). And Pope St. Paul VI taught: “The Devil is the number one enemy, the preeminent tempter. So, we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning.”

How does Satan attack us? By lying, deceiving. Where there is a lie or deceit, there is diabolic action. Charles Baudelaire wrote “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.” And how does Satan lie? He presents evil actions as if they were good; he stimulates us to do bad deeds; and, finally, he suggests reasons to justify sins. After deceiving us, he fills us with restlessness and sadness. Have you experienced this in your lives?

What should our attitude be toward temptation? Before temptation: watch, pray, and avoid near occasion of sin. During temptation: direct or indirect resistance. Pray short bullet prayers to God or the Blessed Virgin Mary for help. After temptation: if you have overcome it, give thanks to God. If you have not overcome it, ask for forgiveness, learn from your experience, and go to confession as needed. What has been your experience in facing temptation?

May we revive such Lenten traditions as meditation of the passion and death of our Lord, praying the Stations of the Cross, and reading the Passion in the Gospels. This Lent may we spend quality time in adoration, in silent prayer, seeking the face of God.

The Virgin Mary crushed the infernal serpent's head. May she give us the strength to overcome daily temptations.

All the best…in Christ,

Father Wilson