The season of Lent is very much upon us! In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read “By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert” (§540, see Matthew 4: 1-11).
In Matthew 4:1-11 we read the passage in which Our Lord fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert, being tempted by the evil one. The devil strives to lure Him with three of the great temptations – pride, presumption, and lust for power – and yet, he is no match for Our Lord. Jesus defeats him by trusting God, knowing truth, and remaining steadfast – three counterattacks to temptation that lead to victory. Our Lord banishes the evil one and is ministered to by the angels.
This account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert gives us much to ponder. But, its relevance to the liturgical season of Lent is especially poignant. Pope John Paul II stated, “It can be said that Christ introduced the tradition of forty days fast into the Church’s liturgical year, because he himself ‘fasted forty days and forty nights’ before beginning to teach. By this Lenten fast the Church is in a certain sense called every year to follow her Master and Lord if she wishes to preach his Gospel effectively.” (General Audience, Feb. 28, 1979).
Today, participate in or pray the Stations of the Cross on your own. How does reflecting upon our Blessed Mother’s standing for three hours at the foot of the cross impact your time of reflection? In what way can you stand at the foot of the cross of Christ? How does this unite you to the “mystery of Jesus in the desert”?
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