February 18, 2022
FOCUS: The kingdom of God is at hand.
What's in Your Heart
As we enter Lent, we focus our attention on our journey toward salvation: reexamining the covenant God made with his people and preparing ourselves for divine promises fulfilled.
Recall the times when you have most vividly felt God's saving grace.
What weighs on your conscience? What can you do to set things right?
Examine your belief in the gospel. How can your Lenten resolve of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving strengthen your faith?
There’s an old joke about the young man who went to Confession and said he had been experiencing temptations. “Did you entertain them, my son?” asked the kindly confessor. “No, Father,” replied the confused penitent, “but they sure entertained me!”
Being tempted isn’t a sin; it’s a spiritual opportunity. After all, Jesus was tempted throughout his 40 days in the desert. Wrestling with temptations helped clarify his mission and deepen his reliance on his Father.
It’s good to remember, and also to instruct your children, that encountering temptation is not a sign of defeat. In fact facing temptation can mean you’re actually on the right path. Author Gregg Levoy writes, “At our first steps toward authenticity—or love or compassion or any high calling—every devil in hell will come out to meet us.”
Even setbacks shouldn’t cause us to throw in the towel, but they can lead to a deeper reliance on God and grace when future temptations come our way.
The rest of the world is regularly telling us and our children that “we deserve a break today” or that there is a pill or product to cure our every ache or discomfort. Jesus shows a different way. He risked the harshness of the desert and thus discovered life. We need to avoid the temptation of seeking only security and comfort in our own lives or we may wind up with hearts that are as barren as deserts.
This is the reason for our hope: that God never tires of waiting for us. When we turn away, he comes looking for us; when we fall, he lifts us to our feet; when we return to him after losing our way, he waits for us with open arms.
Every time I make a little leap, I catch a glimpse of the One who runs out to me and invites me into his joy, the joy in which I can find not only myself, but also my brothers and sisters.
―Henri J.M. Nouwen
One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.