A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 4:1-13
"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, one does not live on bread alone." Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, "I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me. Jesus said to him in reply, "It is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and him alone shall you serve." Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,' and: 'With your hands they will support you, lest your dash your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, You shall not put the Lord your God, to the test." When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. The Gospel of the Lord.
Let us Pray: + Breathe in me O Holy Spirit +
After reading this passage several times slowly, allow the Lord to show you what He wants to talk with you about. He will gently take you there- let Him. Something will strike you and make you ponder a deeper reality or perhaps a greater Truth. Possibly something the Lord said or did will draw you to reflect upon either a past or recent experience, stay there, because oftentimes, the Lord has not yet finished speaking to us. Let Jesus bring you there. Avoid the temptation of trying to read and analyze the passage, when the Lord is with you, drawing you somewhere else. Listen and respond and go wherever He invites you/draws you. We need to learn how to talk frankly with Him and how to listen and receive all the love and help and healing that He so longs to give us. Let the heart be eager to say; "What does He want to say to me today I'm excited to hear." Wait and listen with expectation. "What is it Lord? I'm listening?"
There are several places to ponder and learn from, the sentence which we will look at here, is the very first sentence: "Jesus returned from the Jordan and "was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted". Let us look at just this singular sentence. What is our Lord is teaching us? First of all let us ponder what it means in the life of a disciple, "to be led?" It means allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our life, in the path of the Will of God, which at times, means- right into the very place, we do not want to go, because it looks "intimidating", daunting, fearsome, unsure, difficult, bleak, maybe even lonely- in other words, the desert. Where is that desert for us, that the Holy Spirit is leading us into? It takes courage and trust to allow someone else to lead. Do I pray for these virtues? Secondly, we rarely go in the direction of suffering, strife and insecurity. A good reminder that should encourage us, when we find ourselves being led in the direction of challenge and some strife- know that the Lord is very close to you, and listen well, because this is where He takes us, so that He has our full attention, our "whole-heart". The good news is, the desert and all temptations there, have a period of time designated. There is an end to it, for our Lord, it lasted 40 days. God never asks us to endure something longer than the "appointed time. We must keep perspective in these times of desolation.
Finally we learn, that our Lord was led into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. What is there to learn from this last point? Perhaps that as long as we are on this earth, there will be temptations and Our Heavenly Father, in His Infinite Love, does not allow these temptations to rob us of peace, but rather to provide us the means of sustained Peace- which comes not from running from suffering, but rather, from learning how to be faithful through life's sufferings (Perseverance) to stay with Him, close to His lead, and this final aspect comes down to one WORD and that word is LOVE. After returning from an 8 days silent retreat recently, this was one of the places the Lord drew me close, to remain near Him, in order to see all the gifts of grace that flow from adhering to His lead, clinging to His Lead, no matter what. The Lord's "lead' takes us, in directions we would not choose on our own, it has taken me into "deserts" that I would never have chosen on my own, places I feared to go, but, as I look back over the last 30 years, since I first responded to God's call, as a young adult, I have NO REGRETS! NONE! We will never come to know Him, and who He really is and what it is, that He so longs to give us, which is HIMSELF unless we remain FAITHFUL to His lead. Mother Teresa said this to us, when we were very young sisters, and it has remained with me and grown in meaning: "The Journey IS the GIft!" It is Truth! It is a very personal Journey when you allow the Lord to lead.
Let us close with prayer, as we now go to pray Lectio. This Station is from the Missionary of Charity prayer book, but its easy to memorize and let it become an interior aspiration/a constant breath to God. + 5th Station of the Cross: Simon helps to bear the load, lead me too, along your road +