22nd February – First Sunday in Lent (B)

In today’s Office of Readings we have St Augustine’s commentary on thejesusTemptation Temptation of Christ in the desert.

THE FIRST POINT IS THAT TEMPTATIONS TEACH US ABOUT OUR MORAL/CHARACTER WEAKNESSES. THIS CAN LEAD TO GREATER SELF KNOWLEDGE WHICH IN TURN CAN HELP US GROW IN THE OPPOSING VIRTUE. THIS EFFORT WE MAKE IS IN ITSELF A TESTAMENT TO OUR COMMITMENT TO CHRIST.

Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.

THE SECOND POINT IS THAT WHEN WE ARE IN CHRIST BY LIVING A LIFE OF GRACE, WE CAN CONQUER TEMPTATION THROUGH HIS VICTORY. THIS IS SIMILAR TO PARTICIPATING IN HIS RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD BY OUR UNION WITH HIM.

He made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan. We have heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained salvation for you; he suffered death in your nature, but by his own power gained glory for you; therefore, he suffered temptation in your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you.

If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation.

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