Sunday, 17 February 2013

Temptation



Father Ignatius read the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 4 Verses 1-11.

He waited a few moments for the congregation to sit down and then he continued:

“The devil appeared at the local supermarket one Saturday morning. He stood there by the main entrance looking menacingly and threatening. All the shoppers panicked. They escaped through every available emergency exits, jumped into their cars and drove off at speed.

“All except for one shopper. A small, short man, standing there by his shopping trolley holding a long shopping list in his hand.

“The devil advanced towards the small man and said angrily: ‘Do you know who I am?’

“ ‘Yes … I do’ replied the shopper.

“ ‘Aren’t you afraid of me like all the others?’ asked the devil.

“ ‘No … I’ve been married to your sister for 25 years!’ ”

Father Ignatius waited until the laughter died down, and then went on:

“The devil of course is no laughing matter. He exists alright, although his greatest trick is to convince us otherwise.

“If you were to ask people in the street what do they know about the devil, they would probably tell you about satanic worship, or satan possessing people, as they may have seen in the cinema. Some may mention a man with horns, a tail and pitchfork. But few would tell you of his existence and presence here and now.

“We Christians cannot possibly believe in God and not believe in the devil.

“Satan is amongst us every day of our lives and his task is simple; to lead us astray from the Lord.

“He doesn’t appear menacingly as he did in the supermarket in our opening story.

“No … he is more subtle than that. He is present in our most innocent and slightest temptation; when we least expect him.

“He is that extra bar of chocolate we indulge in, that extra bottle of beer or glass of wine, that cigarette or whatever other weakness we may have.

“He is that tiredness and sleepiness on Sunday morning which tells you it does not matter if you miss Mass this week.

“He is those extra minutes you take for lunch instead of being back at work on time; or the leaving early to go home.

“He is the odd flirtatious smile, which in time may lead you further on.

“And that’s how it starts my friends. A few minor indiscretions here and there which by themselves may mean nothing to you; but they’re the first stepping stones for the evil one.

“His subtleness and ingenuity are worthy of high praise indeed; for he tempts you when you least expect it.

“And the more devout you are the harder he works to get you off track. He will put doubts and worries in your mind where none existed before.

“Right now for instance, I suspect he is most annoyed to see so many of you here in church instead of somewhere else. Especially as the sun is shining and I’m sure you have so many more important things to do … or so he’ll tell you!

“I will not go on and give satan more publicity than he deserves. But let me say that if he had the audacity to tempt our Lord, as we have read in the Gospel, he will not shy away from tempting us.

“Like Jesus did, we must tell the devil: ‘Go away satan’. And pray again and again that the Lord may come to our aid and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

14 comments:

  1. Victor,
    Praying you a have a blessed and fruitful Lenten season. God bless.

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    Replies
    1. Thanx Karinann. I pray you have a blessed Lent.

      God bless.

      Delete
  2. Your last paragraph reminded me - Once in bible study many years ago - the priest said that when we ask Jesus to save us, he does. He will always answer that prayer. I have never forgotten that and when I am feeling some temptation or fear of being far away from God, I will say Jesus save me. And I feel such peace when I pray that. And yes, I also pray - "Get behind me Satan!"
    God bless!

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    Replies
    1. Same here Colleen. I use these prayers too. Another one I heard from a priest is to say: "Devil, go to the foot of the Cross where Jesus will deal with you".

      God bless.

      Delete
  3. Thank you, Vic.

    this post has come at an opportune time. When i just gave in to a temptation to gossip. Reading your post helped me understand the gravity of my 'little' sin.

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    Replies
    1. True Remedia. Small sins can lead to bigger ones. I am praying for you.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  4. I'm sorry, Victor, I've been laughing so much at the start of this story that I haven't been able to read to the end.

    It's okay, I'm fine, now...I'll just scroll back up...

    It's all so true! Thank you, Victor, for the laugh and the wisdom.

    God bless:-)

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    1. Hi Vicky,

      I'm so glad I made you laugh. Sometimes my sense of humour comes too much to the fore.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  5. Each story is better than the last..
    Have a blessed Lent, Victor.
    Blessings and +

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Caroline.

      I hope you have a Blessed Lent too.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  6. Oh Victor, how true, how true. The big temptations are obvious, it's those little things like you describe that get us. The devil loves to hit us in our weakness and vulnerability. We are not good enough for God, we don't deserve God, how can God love me? Those are traps that lead us away from God. Great post.
    Andie

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    1. As you say Andie; the devil always hits us when we're at our weakest, when we're tired, or ill.

      Thank you for visiting me again, and for taking the time to comment.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  7. Hi Victor,
    The devil is sly and uses our weaknesses to his advantage. Thanks for writing about a subject that is largely ignored these days. You would think that with the obvious evil in the world today that people wouldn't doubt his existence but this isn't the case.

    The joke at the beginning of the story was great!

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    Replies
    1. True, Mary. People will just not believe in the devil; or choose not to.

      God bless you.

      Delete

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