Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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With Christ in the Desert

Sunday, February 25, 2007
First Sunday of Lent

Readings: Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Psalm 90; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

‘Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days’ (Luke 4:1). During this season of Lent we are invited to set out more fervently on our journey of spiritual conversion by following Christ into the desert for a period of intense prayer that we might receive the grace to turn away from those things that threaten our relationship with God and with each other.

Although this journey of conversion may seem to be particularly associated with Lent, it is, in fact, one that we are called to undertake with renewed effort each and every day of our lives. As Jesus tells his disciples later in Saint Luke’s Gospel, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me’ (Luke 9:23).

Today’s Gospel passage reminds us that even if we are able to flee temptation on one occasion – temptation to commit all those acts which threaten to harm either ourselves or others – then this is no guarantee that we will not encounter greater temptations later on, waiting to pounce at moments of particular weakness and susceptibility or at moments when our continuing the Christian journey seems difficult or fruitless. Our preparations in Lent can strengthen us to deal with such moments.

To grow in holiness is to grow closer to God and to have an instinct for the ways of God. When we show a lack of trust in God’s ability to save us, or when we try to put God to the test by presuming that he will save us whatever we do, then we stand in danger of failing in the spiritual life.

The Christian journey is a joyful one and we must not forget this even in Lent. At the same time, we know that we can only truly grow in Christian love if we learn to deny our own desires or our own hankering after power or a good reputation. This can be a painful thing to learn. Yet it is only in following this Way of the Cross that we can hope eventually to come to the Resurrection.

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