ON THIS FIRST SUNDAY IN THE SEASON OF LENT we hear in today’s Holy Gospel of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the desert for 40 days. It is worth reminding everyone that Satan cannot force us to do anything – all the prince of evil can do is tempt us with his lies, half-truths, and allurements. But, since we are all guilty of giving into satan’s temptations through our sins, I have included in this Sunday’s bulletin an extensive Examination of Conscience to help prepare everyone to make a good confession. Folks, in order to turn away from sin we need to first turn away from satan and his temptations, and never allow temptations to occupy our minds and hearts. As a matter of course we need to learn more and more to ignore the temptations of the evil one and his ways of darkness, and instead follow the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The divine-inspired wisdom of the saints says much on the subject of temptation; the quotes below are worth reading and pondering one-at-a-time as we enter this penitential season, and focus our time, prayer and energy on our individual conversion of mind and heart:
- “We should not despair, therefore, when we are tempted, but pray to God the more fervently that He may see fit to help us, for according to the word of Paul, He will make issue with temptation that we may be able to bear it. Let us humble our souls under the hand of God in every trial and temptation for He will save and exalt the humble in spirit. In temptations and trials the progress of a man is measured; in them opportunity for merit and virtue is made more manifest. When a man is not troubled it is not hard for him to be fervent and devout, but if he bears up patiently in time of adversity, there is hope for great progress. Some, guarded against great temptations, are frequently overcome by small ones in order that, humbled by their weakness in small trials, they may not presume on their own strength in great ones.” –Saint Francis De Sales
- “Do not bargain with any temptation; lock yourself immediately in My [Jesus’] Heart and, at the first opportunity, reveal the temptation to the confessor…Do not fear struggle; courage itself often intimidates temptations, and they dare not attack us.” (1760) –Saint Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul
- “Your first task is to be dissatisfied with yourself, fight sin, and transform yourself into something better. Your second task is to put up with the trials and temptations of this world that will be brought on by the change in your life and to persevere to the very end in the midst of these things.” –Saint Augustine
- “There are in truth three states of the converted: the beginning, the middle, and the perfection. In the beginning they experience the charms of sweetness; in the middle the contests of temptation; and in the end the fullness of perfection.” –Pope Saint Gregory the Great
- “Stop entertaining those vain fears. Remember it is not feeling which constitutes guilt but the consent to such feelings. Only the free will is capable of good or evil. But when the will sighs under the trial of the tempter and does not will what is presented to it, there is not only no fault but there is virtue.” –Saint Pio of Pietrelcina
- “When tempted, invoke your Angel. he is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: He trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.” –Saint John Bosco
- “Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.” –Pope Saint Leo the Great
- “When we find ourselves in some grave danger, we must not lose courage but firmly trust in God, for where there is the greatest danger, there is also the greatest help from Him who wants to be called our ‘Help’ in times of peace and in times of tribulation.” –Saint Ambrose
- We congratulate those in our parishes of Holy Cross Church and Saint Joseph Cathedral who, after the Rite of Sending this Sunday in our parish churches, will participate in the Rite of Election later on Sunday with Bishop Campbell. This is an important step as they continue their journey to becoming fully-initiate members of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil Mass.
- Bishop Campbell’s Bible Study continues next Sunday, following the 5:15 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral. Please refer to the information in this bulletin so that adequate food and seating is available.
- I have included in this bulletin the homily of Pope Francis on the brutal murder of Coptic Christians by the ISIS terrorist group. We need to pray for persecuted Christians around the world, and also for persecuted Jews and a growing anti-Semitism in the world. I encourage you to go online and read these articles in the Columbus Dispatch:
- It’s been almost a year since I had a week off, and so I will be going on retreat this coming week – and what a great time to do so, during Lent. Please know that I will be praying for many things on retreat, including all parishioners.