Monday, 12 March 2007

And lead us not into temptation

Jerome said: "Christians will not be asked how they began, but rather how they finished. St Paul began badly, but finished well. Judas' beginning was praiseworthy but his end was despicable".

Isidore said: "Our behavior is only acceptable to God if we have the strength of purpose to complete any work we have undertaken".

In a secular world, we face so many temptations during Lent - and throughout the year. How do we stand fast against them? We know the theory, and we have great intentions, but we're weak, and we have ways of convincing ourselves we haven't really given in.

This is what my little book of Lenten reflections says about temptation:

"The struggle with temptation is life-long, even if the kinds of temptations we face change. In fact, in this life, it is impossible for us to be without temptation. The challenge is what to do when we are in the midst of them. God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can endure. We overcome temptation in exactly the same way that Jesus did: we turn to the Father for grace and strength. During His life on earth Jesus offered up loud cries and tears to the Father to save Him and protect Him."

The temptations that Jesus suffered give us encouragement - He suffered the same difficulty that we do, and the enticements were even greater, but He stood firm and never gave in to them.

When we see an occasion for sin, we should instantly turn away. We know that God has given us the strength to resist temptation, and we pray that He will help us to avoid giving in to the temptations that are all around us.

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