February 17, 2016
The temptations that Satan sends our way come with a cost.
Sure, they're empty promises; see last Sunday's reading, where the devil offers the God of the Universe power and glory.
But for me, lately, it's been a lot more important to recognize the cost of temptation: it not only leaves me empty, but actively takes away from me. Every time I settle, go halfway, or commit myself imperfectly to the movements God places in my heart, I fail to be as human as I could. I don't assert my agency and freedom, which has been uniquely given as a gift from God to humanity.
Bad Catholic, one of my favorite blogs, has an amazing post relating to this issue. Please read it. As the author, Marc Barnes, states:
Lent is a complex reminding of our own power. By fasting, we allow ourselves to feel the mighty stimulus of hunger — and ignore it. By fasting, we feel within ourselves the urge to react — and then we don’t. This denial is a powerful approval of the person.
We are "unmoved movers," with souls and motivations and the ability to choose our course. In a sense, we have been given the right to co-creation by God himself and His mercy.
(Marc also humorously adds, in regards to the argument that sexual desire is a natural tendency so, heck, why fight it?:
"If I am forced by the “laws of nature” to buy you a Ferrari, though you may enjoy the car, you could hardly call my purchase a gift. So too with the sexual act. To act out of the compulsion of the Discovery Channel is to kill the possibility of the gift, which is given in freedom.")
In the season of Lent, we are given a forum where we can deny that we are a simple product of our environment, our stimuli, our desires, etc. By our lenten sacrifices and offerings (prayer, almsgiving, and fasting), we declare our humanity, our individuality, our appointed role of co-creators of this universe, our very freedom.
And, of course, that freedom doesn't come from our own doing or value, but from God alone.
Praised be Jesus Christ for His gift, which gives all of our gifts meaning.