Dear Friends in Christ
The first Sunday of Lent brings us into the desert with Jesus. He goes there for forty days and nights to prepare for the ordeals ahead. Whilst there, He is tempted. There are three classic temptations that He faces: to satisfy his bodily desires; to worship a false God; and to use His power for His own purpose. By resisting each of the temptations of the Evil One, Jesus emerges with a stronger will. During Lent we too are engaged in a warfare, a struggle. It is a warfare against the powers that seek to conform us to pleasure, wealth and power. Armed with the threefold weapons of prayer, fasting and charity, we too can emerge fortified and ready for spiritual warfare. There is no holiness possible without struggle, constant struggle.
St Thomas More said that we cannot get to heaven in feather beds! The task is unremitting, and the rest and reward will come in Heaven.
Lent is the annual pilgrimage we make towards Easter, and it always has God at the centre. We will all have ways that we have discerned and chosen to help us discipline the body during this season. Foremost among the spiritual weapons we use is prayer. Let us emerge at Easter as better souls of prayer; having conversed with God intimately each day for whatever period of time is possible for us. Let us get used to saying ’no’ to the superfluous needs of our body so that we can become fitter in the fight. May we also extend the hand of charity to those in need, by giving of our time or material resources to help them, remembering the words of Jesus: You did it to Me.
God bless you all as we strive and struggle towards our gaol.
Msgr Kevin Hale