Trying to think about life and how God makes it full

Meditation on Temptation

The temptations of Jesus I’ve looked at on this Retreat were at the beginning of his ministry, and at the end of his life. Temptation is there in the midst of life, ministry, and even in death. There is no ‘fair play’, there is no neutral ground. There is only God’s will, or, other than God’s will.

But there is also grace, forgiveness, fully human life, and life after death. Thanks be to God, through our Saviour, Jesus Christ!

Brother Ramon says, “…if Jesus is brought nearly to death in the Garden of Gethsemane, and is actually brought to death on the Cross of Calvary, then there is no need for me to be ultimately afraid – as if this world were ever threatening and meaningless. If the gospels tell the true story, and if the Saviour entered into the darkest depths of Gethsemane and Calvary for me, then he gives the lie to all the bleakest and darkest experiences of humankind as the ultimate end.”

Temptation, failure, and death are not the end.

Jesus endured all of life and death, and came out the other side as a resurrected Saviour promising the same resurrection to us, and giving weight to the promise by showing it in himself. Amazing!

I’m so aware of how easy it is to write these words in the comfort and beauty of this place. I’m not one who endured the Holocaust, or the Twin Towers, or the Viet Cong, or the mind-numbing pain of grinding poverty every day with no hope of escape.

But if the gospel is true for me in this place, it must also be true for everyone in every circumstance. I have not had to die a hideous death. But Jesus has, and so brings the hope of the resurrection to all those who do die hideous deaths. And he is able to bring this hope because he didn’t succumb to temptation. He submitted himself to God’s will in those instances of time, and in doing so brought hope to all of humanity for the rest of time. Hallelujah! What a wonderful God….

Brother Ramon prays:

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me,
Within thy wounds, hide me,
Suffer me not to be separated from thee,
From the malicious enemy defend me,
In the hour of my death, call me,
And bid me to come to thee
That with thy saints I may praise thee
For ever and ever. Amen.


March 1, 2007 Posted by | contemplative, god, jesus, religion, Temptation, wisdom | Leave a comment

Temptation in The Garden, Part 2: Luke 22:40-46

The passage begins and ends with, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation”. So, being in prayer is another clue, weapon, defence, against falling into temptation.

Jesus spends his last night in prayer. He must be as susceptible to temptation as anyone else. Why else would he be tempted by the devil at the beginning of his ministry? And here he is at the end of his ministry talking about temptation.

Lord, help me submit my will to yours, as Jesus did in the face of temptation.

So, it seems that prayer, purpose, scripture, and submission to God are essential in overcoming temptation.

I thank you Lord that you’re teaching me about these things in life, and teaching me through these things within daily life. I still feel weak in the face of many temptations, but nevertheless, you’ve kept me Lord, on fairly solid ground. Help me to intuitively know the difference between the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the devil, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

February 28, 2007 Posted by | contemplative, god, jesus, religion, Temptation, wisdom | Leave a comment

Temptation in The Garden, Part 1: Mark 14:32-42

Temptation was at hand, even in the last hours of Jesus’ life. He didn’t want to go through with the Cross, but he submitted himself to God’s will. Then poor old Peter got it in the neck on behalf of the others, when Jesus found them asleep. He told them to keep awake and pray so that they don’t fall into temptation.

There’s something about being alert to temptation, and being alert and alive to God’s will, even in the face of death. I wonder if I would’ve done any better than Peter, James, and John if I had been there in the Garden with Jesus. They would’ve had a few glasses of red wine at the meal beforehand and were probably feeling the effects of it late at night. I bet they started off in an attitude of prayer, fully intending to pray in solidarity with Jesus – especially when they could see he was so distressed.

Someone else’s pain is never as close as your own. Therefore, its natural that we don’t respond to someone else’s pain in the same way as we respond to our own.

But that’s where God is different to us. He responds to the pain of the world in such a way as to make the world’s pain his own – he feels and suffers along with the world.

Jesus feels the stress of my pain. He is greatly distressed in the Garden, exceedingly sorrowful at the thought of taking upon himself the sin of the world with all its madness and corruption, and because of it, himself becoming separated from his heavenly Father.

Consequently, he has the very human response of wanting God to take it all away from him. And he also has the deeply spiritual response of submitting his will to God’s, and actually going through with it.

Jesus had a big enough sense of purpose to carry him through the temptation, submit himself to God, and complete the task.

February 27, 2007 Posted by | contemplative, god, jesus, religion, Temptation, wisdom | 2 Comments