Jesus battles and conquers Satan in the Temptation. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Temperance so he can conquer media “gluttony” and avoid the many near occasions of sin and by growing in the Virtue of Studiousness so he can replace idle and destructive curiosity with the useful study of the Bible.
1st Week of Lent – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 4:1-11
Following the manifestation of the Holy Trinity at His Baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the rugged Judean wilderness east of the Jordan River to prepare for His public ministry. In solidarity with Israel’s wandering in the desert for 40 years and men’s battles against temptation, Jesus undergoes a grueling trial of fasting for 40 days and mysteriously allows Satan to attempt to tempt Him; unlike Adam and Israel, Jesus will triumph in His Spiritual Combat with evil by remaining absolutely obedient to God the Father.
Sensing Jesus’ weakened physical state after 40 days of fasting, Satan seeks to tempt Jesus by using what worked in Eden and the Exodus. At Eden (Gen 3), Satan successfully used doubt and deceit to tempt with food, knowledge and power to seduce Eve. During the Exodus, Israel was tempted to doubt God when hungry (Ex 16:3), was tempted to test God (Ex 17:7) and tempted into idolatry (Ex 32:1-6).
Showing how to battle evil temptation, Jesus easily defeats Satan. Despite being famished, Jesus rebukes Satan’s challenge to prove His power over nature (turn stones into bread) by adhering to the commandment to be obedient to God (Deut 8:3). Jesus rebukes Satan’s clever use of Scripture to test His faith in the Father by keeping the commandment to never tempt God (Deut 6:6). Jesus rebukes Satan’s offer of worldly power by keeping the commandment to worship God only (Deut 6:16). Overwhelmingly powerful despite His grueling 40-day fast, Jesus casts Satan away; Satan, through his demons, will return again and again to confront Jesus during His three year public ministry, only to be defeated by Jesus every time. Angels come to the aid of Jesus, as they will again at the Agony in the Garden (Lk 22:43).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by the Gospel accounts of The Temptation which show the powerful manliness and virtues of Jesus: fasting for 40 days in the desert highlights His astounding physical Strength, Stamina, Toughness, and Fortitude; confronting the powerful evil of Satan in His weakened state demonstrates incredible Courage (a part of Fortitude); refusing food while He is starving demonstrates amazing Self-Control (a part of Diligence); refuting the arguments of Satan with Sacred Scripture reveals His Prudence and masterful use of Reason; His Harsh Rebuke makes Satan flee and shows the awesome fierceness of His Divine Power.
Conquer media “gluttony” and avoid many near occasions of sin
Realize: The Internet has dramatically increased Satan’s ability (CCC 394-395) to tempt men to commit The 7 Deadly Sins (CCC 1866: pride, greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth); many men are plagued by a “gluttony” of overconsumption of online media, particularly the viewing of pornography and masturbation.
Believe: Reflect upon Jesus’ victory in The Temptation (CCC 538-540).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Temperance, help me build the Virtue of Temperance so I can overcome media “gluttony”, “fast” from all unnecessary media and avoid many near occasions of sin, freeing my mind to more clearly hear Your voice.
Replace idle curiosity with the useful study of the Bible
Realize: As Jesus masterfully used Scripture to rebuke Satan, for success in the Spiritual Combat, men must imitate Jesus by knowing and relying upon Scripture.
Believe: Reflect upon Sacred Scripture (CCC 101-141).
Pray: Almighty and Most Gracious Father, help me build the Virtue of Studiousness (a part of Temperance) so I replace idle curiosity with the useful study of the Bible, I make Scripture the sure foundation of my life, and I frequently use Scripture to help me battle against temptation.