No, it’s not “carbs” as the picture might suggest. I’m sure that’s surprising to those of you who know I have a huge sweet tooth and a penchant for Blue Moon beer. No, my great temptation is something different.
I’ve come believe that knowing who I am in Christ and who I am a part from Him is the key to persevering in His grace. The great temptation I (we) face on a daily basis is to deny, forget and lose faith in our identity as God’s beloved son or daughter.
Why is this such a great temptation?
Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete expresses it beautifully. Here is an excerpt taken from one of his meditations found in yesterday’s Magnificat readings.
Meditation on the temptations of Jesus has always been part of the Church’s celebration of Lent…
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves.” (Matt. 4:3)
All particular temptations are expressions of this one original or “primordial temptation. This is the temptation to believe that the fulfillment of the desires of the human heart depends entirely on us. Dependence on another leaves us at the mercy of what we cannot control. Therefore, we are tempted to reject all forms of dependence.
The most radical dependence is love. Therefore, the original temptation is to deny that our existence is a pure and perfect gift of an infinite Love that deserves to be loved in return. The fullest revelation that God is love is the incarnation of Christ. Therefore, the primordial temptation is to reject the incarnation and its consequences.
Even Jesus himself was subject to this temptation. He was tempted to deny the very experience of his own identity: “If you are the Son of God…” The boldness of the temptation is terrifying. The temptation of Jesus is to doubt his own identity as the Father’s Son. It is really not a matter of proving his divinity; it is a tempation to reject his absolute dependence on the Father as the revelation of his own divinity! It is to betray the revelation of God as Trinity, of God as Love. [Magnificat: March, 2008, p. 122]
This is my daily temptation as well.
It seems the world, my flesh and the enemy conspire to lead me down my own path of independence and self-reliance. They whisper lies to my heart that tempt me to forget what my innermost being knows to be true: I am sustained by my Father who loves me, who calls me his beloved daughter and has my very best interests at heart.
When I listen to the lies and forget this truth I am tempted to pick up the stones around me and feast on them. I look for sustenance where sustenance can’t be found. In the process I’ve nibbled on those stones and suffered the consequences.
That is why I need and choose to run to to the table of our Lord as often as possible. It is there I am reminded of the truth of who He is and who I am in Him. It’s there that I feast on true sustanance, Jesus, the bread of life.
This is the truth that Jesus knew:
I am the Son of God and my Father will sustain me. How simple and yet profound and powerful.
We can know and rest in this truth too. Living in this helps us overcome that great temptation to depend on ourselves instead of the loving provision of our Abba Father.
We must always remember we are His beloved sons and daughters and Father will sustain us by the power of the Holy Spirit through His Son Jesus, the true bread of life.