During Lent, my resolution had been to limit food treats to feast days and special occasions in the hopes that I would be able to continue it as a permanent habit. Now that I am back from Rome and returning to regular life, I am realizing just what that entails. Its early Wednesday, so I’ve had two days of the new plan… my grade is 50% on food, 100% (with assistance) on exercise. Like today, I have to get someplace so my bike will be used.
My time in Rome highlighted several things that I need to change. I need to start the day with a prayer and a plan. I realize that my tendency to the sins of sensuality (sloth, gluttony, lust) means without a plan my decisions will only lead to poor health. I need backup, hence start with prayer. I realize now that I will always be battling, and though I am not happy that this thorn won’t be taken from me, I have been almost chanting “his grace is enough”. I know in the months to come my weight will go down and my body will change, but I also know it will be a struggle. I really wanted it to be easy, that the effort would come from something other than me. But that is not what is asked of us, we are given sufficient grace… sufficient…
Being a Catholic means living a oxymoron: Matthew 11:30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” and Mark 8:43 “He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, ‘Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.’ ” — reminder here folks, the Cross was the most painful way to die – in our modern language you could say allow yourself to be tortured to get the gist. Yes, greater health is an easier yoke. It means more energy, more stamina, more fun time with my kids… but it comes with a lot of self-denial.
Today I am going to memorize Jesus’ three responses to the temptation in the desert. Yes, Jesus was God, but he was also fully human. The fact that he was God gave him the path to resist temptation, but as a human, he had to resist it. I need to know that path.
- 1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. 3The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”4 He said in reply, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” 7Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” 8Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, 9and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” 10At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” 11Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.