St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 13th March 2011
In Matthew’s gospel for this first Sunday of Lent, we will read ‘Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil’. The desert is a common theme in most if not all religions in the world and is always a symbol of times of temptations; a time to draw nearer to God and for spiritual growth. Buddha travelled through the dry wasteland of Northern India. Mohammed went to Mount Hira in the Arabian Desert. Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness after he had been on the run or has had his own desert experience.
Lent season is like a time in a desert. During this season we may be led by the Spirit to our own different deserts where we may experience some temptations, like irritability because one may be fasting. Our inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, desire for that chocolate or alcohol or whatever would be exposed. Our promise to let go of some of our comforts and associate with the poor, to fast, pray, study, learn, give generously of our time or money and our faith and prayer life will be tested.
We can rely on the power greater than ourselves during Lent, by repeating ‘The Jesus Prayer’, for at least fifteen minutes a day, will keep our minds focus on God. This ancient desert prayer tunes our whole being to God and keeps those temptations at bay.
This very simply prayer Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner
………………can be said anywhere, waiting for the bus, queuing to play the lottery, at the dentist chair or at the supermarket.
It has been said that we are to rejoice if we find ourselves praying the ‘Jesus Prayer’ in our sleep or when we wake up first thing in the morning.