More Truth About (My) Temptations

Another personal Lenten reflection


Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4.1)

Whether I view Jesus’ temptations as his struggle with an objectifiable, outward enemy or an inner battle between contrary desires (or both), only then, when facing them, did (could!) he begin his public ministry.

Lent summons me into the wilderness of my soul. There, I am laid bare. There, I see myself (my self) more clearly. Just as I am with all of my inner contradictions. Courage and cowardice. Humility and hubris. Longing for God and lust for the world and its pleasures.

In this, I discover (truly, rediscover, for this isn’t my first wilderness trek) that only via the path of this inward journey can I return to the world, with all of its damnably persisting enmities and inequities, able to view life again with wide, fearless eyes of wonder, so to dream dreams of an ideal creation, so to lend my heart and hands to the labor of love and justice.

In a word, only when I see myself anew, just as I am, can I deal forthrightly with the world just as it is and with others just as they are.

© 2023 PRA

Illustration: The Temptation in the Wilderness (1898), Briton Rivière (1840-1920)

2 thoughts on “More Truth About (My) Temptations

  1. Paul,
    Sometimes it can be so hard to see myself anew every year…. But you give me a truly great reason to want to do so – seeing the world as it is (which right now ain’t that great!)



  2. Loretta, temptation, for me, is so damnably rich (varied and layered) a subject, indeed, a reality that, as I quickly review my posts concerning it, I realize afresh that I (can and do) view temptation in a variety of ways. From an inner voice that calls me to see myself honestly in relation to God to an(y) enticement that pulls me from a good path to a clarifying mirror that, in seeing myself more clearly, allows me to see the world and others more clearly. Temptation, therefore, is a multivalent reality in my life. (And, I suppose, that is true for and about anything else! Love. Hate. Power. Authority. Responsibility. Accountability. Guilt. Shame. Etc.)



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