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Feb 26th, 2023 Bulletin & News

By February 24, 2023No Comments

How do I see Jesus?

It is a basic question for Ignatian-style prayer with Sacred Scripture, and a question that can lead to many answers.

Many people start with a physical description: how tall, what build, what face shape and eye color? This is certainly part of my image of Jesus. But going further, the image deepens to temperament and bearing. How does he act? Is he solemn or joyful, attentive or absorbed? What is the tone of his voice and the inflection in his words? In imaginative prayer, it makes a huge difference whether I hear the words of Jesus uttered with calm confidence or a hard edge.

When I see Jesus tempted by the Devil in the Gospel of Matthew (4:1-11), I see him as he is described weakened from hunger, but also peaceful and resolute. I hear his answers to the Devil as confident statements, spoken from his immediate knowledge of God as the highest good to which no comfort, display of grandeur or power can compare. Jesus is met by the Tempter when he is at the human limits of weakness and fatigue, but I see no apprehension or wavering. He knows that he is beyond Satan’s power and, while the temptations are real, Jesus will not be separated from the truth that they try to twist.

This prayer comforts me, because my response to temptation is so different. I so often entertain an embellished image of myself being glorified or recoil at the threat of discomfort, and consenting to such lies leaves me feeling alone. But being alone is just another lie; I can always return to see myself at Jesus’ side in his temptation and ask him to help me. The Season of Lent is a special time for that exactly.

“Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 540)

Being united to Jesus in the desert means committing to reject the lies presented to me in temptation. I am weak on my own, but strong in him (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:10). The world is always peddling falsehoods, but now I consciously arm myself with fasting, prayer, and mercy in order to engage spiritual warfare. Jesus conquered temptation once for all in the desert, and he will conquer it in me if I am willing.

Fr. Nate

San Pedro Comms

Author San Pedro Comms

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