In the Scripture passages of Matthew and Luke, we read how the enemy of peace tempts Jesus in various ways. In summary, Jesus is tempted to create bread out of stones so he can eat, leap from a height and rely on angels to break his fall, and kneel before Satan in return for all the kingdoms of the world.
While those temptations may not be our temptations today, it would be naive to think we are spared our version of troubling and rebellious thoughts. Often we can be unaware of temptations and call our various conditions ‘bad moods’ or ’tough times'. At other times, we lack self-awareness and blame our tougher moments on someone or something outside of ourselves. We all do this. The failure to take responsibility for our thinking and thoughts leaves us in conditions we would not choose if we became more aware of life without them.
In other words, while it’s great to avoid obvious mistakes and sins, it’s not much good if we poison our relationships with the people around us and fail to bring God’s mercy to them. We can do better. Maybe Lent is a time to look honestly at how we can do better. Maybe Lent is a time to sift through unthinking habits and discard or detach from those that no longer serve and to get serious about those that do serve. We all know people who are religious who do not seem to be spiritual. And we also know people who are deeply spiritual but who lack any connection to the acquisition of greater holiness, for example, our Sacraments, our life in our Catholic Church.
Which one is a greater challenge for us? Do we need a little more religion to ground us into the acquisition of the virtues? Do we need a little less religious conversation and simply try to embody the life of Christ, using the graces in the Sacraments to bring mercy quietly to the people around us?
In the Backpack courses and culture, we try to bring our temptations and unruly thinking to the surface so that we can do the hard work to get rid of that which does not serve a peaceful life. All of our teachings will aim at bringing us closer to direct contact with God, thus, direct contact with our own condition on each day given to us by the Lord, who is the only master of time. Asking ourselves questions about our thoughts can be an act of the greatest courage because often, we will not like what we find. That’s the point. That’s the exercise. That’s the job. And here is the question:
"What are my temptations today?”
Ask the question.
Get the freedom! Team Backpack