“Jesus does not dialogue with the devil. Jesus responds to the devil with the Word of God, not with his own words. In temptation, we often begin to dialogue with temptation, to dialogue with the devil: “yes, I may do this…, then I will go to confession, then this, then that…”. We must never dialogue with the devil. Jesus does two things with the devil: he either sends him away or, like in this case, he responds with the Word of God. Be attentive to this: never dialogue with temptation, never dialogue with the devil.
Today too, Satan breaks into people’s lives to tempt them with his enticing proposals. He mixes his own voice to the many other voices that try to tame our conscience. Messages come to us from many places, inviting us to “allow ourselves to be tempted”, to experience the intoxication of transgression. Jesus’ experience teaches us that temptation is an attempt to walk paths that are alternative to those of God. Do this, there’s no problem, then God forgives! One day of joy for yourself …”. “But it is a sin! — No, it is nothing”. Alternative paths, paths that give us the impression of self sufficiency, of enjoying life as an end in itself. However, all this is illusory. We soon realize that the more we distance ourselves from God, the more defenceless and helpless we feel when facing life’s big problems.
May the Virgin Mary, the Mother of he who crushed the head of the serpent, help us during this Lenten period to be vigilant when confronted with temptation, not to submit ourselves to any idol of this world, and to follow Jesus in the struggle against evil. Thus we too will be victorious as Jesus.”
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March 1st, 2020
Pedro Gabriel, MD, is a Catholic layman and physician, born and residing in Portugal. He is a medical oncologist, currently employed in a Portuguese public hospital. A published writer of Catholic novels with a Tolkienite flavor, he is also a parish reader and a former catechist. He seeks to better understand the relationship of God and Man by putting the lens on the frailty of the human condition, be it physical and spiritual. He also wishes to provide a fresh perspective of current Church and World affairs from the point of view of a small western European country, highly secularized but also highly Catholic by tradition.