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Thursday, March 6, 2008

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Exodus 32:7-14
Psalm 106:19-23
John 5:31-47

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temptations of the lenten desert

"They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it." —Exodus 32:8

During Lent we imitate Jesus as He was led by the Spirit into the desert (Lk 4:1). The desert is not only a physical place but a spiritual condition. We give alms to the degree that we don't have money to buy what we usually buy. We pray so often we deprive ourselves of our customary diversions. We fast so much we don't have the stimulation we usually have. We enter an emotional, psychological, and spiritual desert. We're hungry for pleasure, entertainment, and food.

We're also hungry for God. The devil will tempt us to give priority to our carnal desires. He will try to manipulate and bribe us with food, power, and pleasure (see Lk 4:3, 6-7). If we give in to these temptations, we will have given something priority over God. In effect, we will have made a golden calf in the desert and worshiped an idol (see Ex 32:8).

However, if we resist the temptation to leave the desert by our own power and find our own promised land, we will see our heavenly Father provide for us, His children. We will move into a new dimension of trust in our Father. In the Lenten desert, we will either be manipulated by sin or transformed by Abba.

Prayer:  Abba, father me out of my desert into the promised land.

Promise:  "These very works which I perform testify on My behalf that the Father has sent Me." —Jn 5:36

Praise:  Moving into the desert financially, Maureen saw the providential care of her heavenly Father.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007

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