The Blessing of Temptation

Mark chapter 1, verses 12-15

In the first chapter of his Gospel, Mark tells us that, so strong was Jesus' determination to identify with us, he went into the desert and exposed himself to every temptation known to man and at a level of intensity well beyond what any of us will ever experience.

The story of humanity is a story of temptation, weakness and failure, but it is also a story of temptation, strength and victory. The most significant chapter of all, however, speaks of Divine love, forgiveness and redemption.

Jesus wanted to be part of our story in a truly visceral way. There was no danger of his falling and giving in to Satanic wiles, but, in a way that we will never be able to understand, he experienced this kind of agony just as he experienced the agony of Calvary.

As he answers our prayers he can truly say, "I know, I have been there, I understand.

Just as Jesus sought to identify with us by suffering temptation, so too we are able to turn temptation into a blessing which will solidify our union with him. Every act of self-denial draws us closer to Our Saviour.

If this sounds like empty piety, then consider that the most meaningful gift that we can give is the gift of self. That is why marriage is so special, so unique, so bonding by its very nature.

The free submission of one's will to the voice of conscience is also a gift of self. A gift of one's self to Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. The opportunity to make this gift comes most often in the form of temptation... in the blessing of temptation.

In the light of The Lord's Prayer, the "blessing of temptation" might seem like an oxymoron, but way back in the time of The Council of Trent, the Fathers of the Council taught that "The Lords prayer" invoked Divine aid in our struggle against submitting to temptation. To not experience it is something else again, for according to Divine Providence, temptations, when challenged with faith and overcome with love, are vital elements of our earthly pilgrimage.

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