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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with St. Francis: Wrestling with Temptation

Feb 21, 2021
Lent with St. Francis: Wrestling with Temptation

First Sunday of Lent

Year A: Genesis 2:7–9, 3:1–7; Psalm 51:3–4, 5–6,
12–13, 17; Romans 5:12–19; Matthew 4:1–11
Year B: Genesis 9:8–15; Psalm 25:4–5, 6–7, 8–9; 1
Peter 3:18–22; Mark 1:12–15
Year C: Deuteronomy 26:4–10; Psalm 91:1–2, 10–11,
12–13, 14–15; Romans 10:8–13; Luke 4:1–13

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” —Luke 4:1


Our temptations aren’t likely to come to us from a mysterious figure in a deserted place. But often they revolve around the same basic human drives: hunger, emotional security, safety, status, ambition. Many of the stories told about St. Francis reveal his struggles with temptations of various kinds, as in this story, from the Legend of the Three Companions:

When the Devil saw Francis’s good beginning, he tried ingeniously to turn him from it by suggestions of fright or disgust.… Francis, however, was strong in the Lord and, heedless of the Devil’s threats, he prayed devoutly in the cave that God would direct his steps into the right way.

The message of the Gospel today, like the message of Lent itself, is twofold: “Repent and believe the good news.” We are called to do both. It’s easy to think that the repenting is the hard part. But in all honesty, often it’s far more difficult to believe in good news. We know our weaknesses far better than we know our strengths.


Prayer

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery that we may do
for your sake alone what we know you want us to do,
and always want what pleases you; so that,
cleansed and enlightened interiorly and
fired with the ardour of the Holy Spirit,
we may be able to follow in the footsteps of your Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


Faith and Family


Comments

Submitted by Regina (not verified) on Sun, 02/21/2021 - 07:53 AM

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St.Francs shows us the way! Follow In his footsteps and they lead us closer to the way of the Lord. St Francis, pray for us.

Submitted by Rosemarie A Ka… (not verified) on Tue, 02/23/2021 - 02:52 PM

In reply to by Regina (not verified)

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As a Secular Franciscan, I am tempted to be proud of my circumstances. I know that it's from the Devil and pray to be humbled.

Submitted by Penelope Cannon (not verified) on Sun, 02/21/2021 - 09:00 AM

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Great message! So true that it is easier to focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths...easier to repent than believe in the Good News. Thank you for that reminder!

I was taught by Fr Thomas Keating that the word REPENT really means Change the direction that you're looking for happiness!

Submitted by Christina Pecoraro (not verified) on Sun, 02/21/2021 - 09:20 AM

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How true it is: believing the good news is often more difficult than turning from bad news. Lent itself, at times, lures us to concentrate on our sick and sinful selves. What if, instead, our focus was Jesus? What if our prostituting selves met up with Someone who saw the good in us, the godly? What if, running after that Someone, we found ourselves leaving behind our ‘self’-ish obsessions? I pray, then: “Jesus, tempt me with your very self. Amen.”

Submitted by Dr Eileen Quin… (not verified) on Sun, 02/21/2021 - 10:14 AM

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Often as participants in the kingdom of God, we feel the serious pinch of the suffering of Christ in our everyday lives. It can be the loss of a loved one, the trials of a relationship, a moving away from the things we know God wants us to do. He knows the loss of Lazarus and the time Peter denied Him and not following our vocation. With this suffering Jesus still reaches out His hand to assist us and be with us. That warm embrace is the way Jesus lets us know He is with us. He is at one with us in our suffering. We are with you Lord, to offer our little suffering to you and ask you to assist us in being the best we can be for you and for all our brothers and sisters.

Submitted by Terence Lover (not verified) on Sun, 02/21/2021 - 12:41 PM

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How easy it is to become distracted by life's activities once the day has begun! This underscores the importance of becoming oriented to the beauty of each morning with a few moments of reflection and prayer when rising. From this "seeing" it is possible to know that God is there in all that we do and in all that we encounter. God will be there through our successes and ready to support us when we inevitably fail. In all the dimensions of our humanity, let Jesus be our guide! Peace.

Submitted by Thomas Pileggi (not verified) on Sun, 02/21/2021 - 03:02 PM

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So starts Lent; let me build an ark of peace; turning away from the chaos I create & allow in my life for the next 40 days

Submitted by Barbara Bassett (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 01:48 AM

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Fr Thomas Keating taught me that the word REPENT means, Change the direction you're looking for happiness!

Submitted by Caroline Howell (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 08:29 AM

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It's true I believe - we're afraid of our strength and realizing its potential. I know I am always focused on my weaknesses - especially during this time. It's hard to believe I'm "worthy" of God's mercy and grace. I don't like thinking about temptation but it's something that is so real.

Submitted by Peter Collins (not verified) on Mon, 02/22/2021 - 05:04 PM

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I am still struggling with the idea I have of , what I call , Atonement. Where is it that Jesus , " said " I am dying for " your sins " ?? I know it sounds " heretical " but I can follow that Jesus was " put to death " for believing in " his purpose / mission " in life. I would like to believe that I might have the courage to die for my beliefs.

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