Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Ave Maria!

First Sunday of Lent—22 February AD 2015

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Lenten Observance

Psalm 90-Translated from the Old Latin

Jesus Tempted by the Devil

Lenten Regulations:  Fast ages 21-59;  Abstinence 7+;
Ember days this coming Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, February 25, 27, 28
Mass schedule Monday & Wednesday 10 AM, 8:00 AM other days
Holy Hour Friday at 7:00 pm

Please attend Mass and the Holy Hour as often as you can during Lent.

“Behold, now is the acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.[1]

    Today is the first Sunday of Lent, the forty day period that is intended to prepare us for Easter.  In the Gospel, our Lord gives us His own good example, as we see Him observe the same fast of forty days in the desert.[2]

    The forty day fast was something of a Jewish tradition by the time of Christ—in the Old Testament we read about Moses and Elias doing the same.  It is instructive, though, to read this passage describing our Lord's fast, in order to understand what we are to be about during this Lenten season.

    Clearly, we don't fast or do any other penance just for the sake of doing it.  There is no inherent virtue in being hungry, or uncomfortable, or whatever.  We do—or should be doing—these things to achieve a purpose that goes far beyond them.  In essence, our Lord is giving us an example of divorcing ourselves from the attraction of earthly things in order to be able to devote ourselves to spiritual things.  He show us that if we dedicate ourselves to spiritual things, we will not have our heads turned by the allurements of the world—not by the physical appetites;  not by the glittering possessions of the world;  and not by the temptations to human respect and honor.

    Of course, in order to be delivered from such temptations it is necessary to actually follow our Lord's example—not just to read about it and think of it as a theoretical thing.  Good habits are developed by regularly doing good—not by talking about it.  If we want to have the habitual discipline to avoid temptation, we have to begin by consciously exercising discipline over ourselves.  At first that might be a bit difficult;  as long as our bad habits remain in control, but it will become easier as time goes on as long as we persevere in self control.

    Now, most of us are mature enough to understand this—we have all had to break a bad habit or try to form a good one at one time or another in our lives.  But there is always the temptation to put off the effort for “just a little while.”  It always seems that it will be easier to begin “tomorrow” instead of beginning today.  But the Church, and Saint Paul have given us a sort of “gentle nudge” to get things underway.  Lent has already begun—We are not allowed to put it off—Our forty day clock is “ticking.”

    Saint Paul tells us that “now is the acceptable time;  now is the time of our salvation.”  And, just in case there is any doubt in our minds, he reminds us that this “conversion of manners” that we are to undergo during Lent extends to every dimension of our existence;  not just to how much we eat, or how much we drink, or whatever.  He is telling us that we are to approach everything we do as Christians:  our tribulations, our sufferings, our chastity, our charity, our labor, our truth, our knowledge, as well as in our fasting and abstinence.

    And once again, our Lord gives us the final example.  He seems to have, so to speak, been fencing with the devil;  and He leaves us a few choice phrases that have become part of our Christian culture:

    “Not by bread alone does man live.”

    “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

    “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”[3] (Actually, that is from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, but it is suggested by today’s Gospel,)

    But, perhaps the most important thing we can learn from this encounter with the devil is to learn how to say:

    “Begone, Satan!” and to learn that “the Lord our God shall we adore, and Him alone shall we serve.”

    If we learn just those two things, this will be a profitable Lent.

“Behold, now is the acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.




[1]   Epistle: 2 Corinthians vi: 1-10

[2]   Gospel: Matthew iv: 1-11

[3]   Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Antonio, Act I scene III


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