Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mt 4:1-11 Temptations

Mt 4:1-11 Temptations

(Click here for readings)

What are temptations? They are invitations or choices that we can make in our lives. They are what they do not appear to be. They are hand delivered invitations to walk in a wasteland towards the garden of Eden. That is, to follow a mirage in the desert.

Where do temptations come from? They come from the devil, our world and from our fallen nature. They do not come from God but are permitted by Him. And if they are allowed by our Lord, then they are for good reason. We can then turn to Him when we are tempted.

Temptations allow us to know ourselves better, what we truly love, what we are most attracted to. Temptations will never seduce me to do things I hate, like eat spinach! No, they know us better than that and know exactly when to hit, where to hit and how to hit!

So why does God allow temptations in the first place? Again, it’s so that we can truly know ourselves. The Lord can use temptations to get the best out of us. It is a very strong reminder of his words, “Without me, you can do nothing.”

The Saints that endured horrific trials and persecution are living reminders of God’s fidelity to those who seek him. If they can persevere, so can I. If they can remain faithful in times of trial, so can I. Temptations can actually make us stronger. Every time I destroy a temptation, step on it, crush its head, I become stronger! It is a mystery. Why does suffering bring out the best in us? Why do we grow light years in maturity when we have to undergo hardship? It is a truth, a reality but a mystery. Temptations provide us with opportunities for growth because character develops with choice. Humility and humiliation help us to grow “into” Christ. And when we grow into another Christ, we can begin to save.

How does the devil do it? He does it the same way over and over again. His way of dealing and wheeling started with Eve; his arrogance tempted Christ, and being unsuccessful with the Lord, he became very successful with us. First, he identifies the desire in us. He gets us to doubt (about sin), “Does God really care?” Then, he deceives us for he is the father of lies. He tries to get us to be like him: disobedient. As Peter Kreeft comments, the devil goes for the legs, our lower faculties: emotions, desires, lusts. Christ goes for the heart and brain, the higher faculties: the intellect and the will. The devil shoots for the 60 yard dash, immediate gratification. On the other hand, Christ participates in the Marathon - the end of life, the goal, Heaven.

How do we destroy temptations? There are many ways, but the most important way begins with the right attitude. I must want, desire to eliminate temptations from my life. Sometimes we like to play with them, like with a killer whale, but temptations have no love affair with us. It is all business for them: seek and destroy.

Prayer unites us with God. Vigilance means staying alert, knowing the enemy well. Prudence means learn from your mistakes. Be honest with yourself. Know what you can and cannot do. Run, there is always a way out. Refocus – recommit yourself on a daily basis. Confess your sins immediately. Trust in the Lord. God is the great “I AM WHO AM”. The devil is the great “I AM WHO AM NOT.” Progress might mean baby steps. But don’t ever forget, little by little means more and more.

Finally, never give up.


  1. "So why does God allow temptations in the first place? Again, it’s so that we can truly know ourselves. The Lord can use temptations to get the best out of us. It is a very strong reminder of his words, “Without me, you can do nothing.”

    The past year of my life has been a roller coaster. These words above were often the ONLY thing that pulled me out of my pride back into His hands away from the devil's always present, relentless temptations to fall into the pit with him. I would have to say they've saved my soul on many occasions and continue to do so. I believe them with my whole heart because they have proven themselves to be true over and over.

  2. A wonderful meditation today Father! Very helpful and very motivating, thank you!

    It so EASY to doubt the sinfulness of sin; to conform the commandments to our desires, rather than our lives to God's will. It is so easy to reason why what we know is sin is really 'not that bad in our case', really something 'normal or natural'.

    I have been reading Peter Kreeft's book "Making Sense Out of Suffering" (which is great by the way). It is so helpful for me to remember that evil is not created or desired by God, rather it is a deprivation of love, of Him. When I give into temptation I shove God out, and in the absence of Him, of love, the void is filled by evil (sin).

    hmmm....this meditation has made me consider redirecting my Lenten resolution more towards combating my greatest temptations...

    Anyways, praying for you! Please pray for me too! :)

    - Jessica

  3. Great meditation Father!
    What I have experienced with temptations is that when you identify them and take them to our Lord to help you overcome them, the Lord makes you more humble and more charitable. After experienced many temptations I found myself not as harsh and arrogant judging the sins of others but more merciful because I've been there and I've done that. I know how difficult is not to fall and how much suffering comes from the fall! if only we could see the misery in the heart of the sinner we wouldn't judge that much, we would be more compassionate.
    (Greetings from Leon, Gto!) Cecilia Arreola

  4. Fr. Alfonse-

    I have saved this post to Word and printed out a copy to put on my kitchen table along with my prayer cards and a couple of confessions.It will help to keep me on track.

    You seemed shocked that I was leaving confessions on the table. Who did you think should not see them? My 76 YO alcoholic DH or my 33 YO gay son who comes once a week?

    We actually take our meals in front of the TV at my DH's insistence. The only time anyone eats at the table is when DH insists on watching Dr.Oz or other objectionable cacophony.

    Then I clear away enough of my jewelry making supplies for my one-bowl lunch. . . .a salad hidden under meat or eggs. . . .


  5. Jan you are interesting.

    My best friend and I used to critique each other's confessions the day before to make sure we included all the details and left off the stupid non-sins.

    I'm not talking about when we were kinds, I'm talking about this past year.

    Now she doesn't speak to me anymore so I have to ask strangers.

    I don't think I would print them, well I would print them, but I wouldn't post them, well maybe I would if they were more interesting.

    Your comment really amused me this evening.

  6. To Anonymous at 11:43 pm-

    I was a professional symphony musician for 36 years. We went on tour, stayed in the same hotels, and pretty much knew what everyone was doing and with whom.

    The conversations were pretty open. There were no taboo subjects. And of course, women rather routinely discuss personal matters.. . . .unless they are all tied up in knots.

    I became a Catholic at the age of 25. Confessing to a priest seemed incomprehensible.

    As I explained it to a friend, "We go into a little dark room on Saturday morning and tell every dirty thing we have ever done to a guy who is not getting any."

    It took a long time to get used to that. . . .

    If you choose the name/URL option, you can use a made-up name and ignore the URL. You will still be anonymous, but we will know what to call you.



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