Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Staying on Fire – First Sunday of Lent

A new and potentially lethal coronavirus has brought about a pandemic scare and panic to everyone and anywhere in the world. Since its first reported case in Wuhan last December 2019, it has affected 82,756 globally with China having the most number of cases as well as Korea, Italy and Japan. In a short time, this virus has changed our lifestyle dramatically. Even in the Church our bishops suggested to revise our usual practices in communion or Ash Wednesday. The seismic effect is on tourism negatively impacting the Asian market from currencies to oil and air travel. A wore alarming effect is the remarkable increase of prejudice and xenophobia to Asians in the West. Yet we never got scared when Pope Francis reflected recently that “one of the evils of our day is the loss of a sense of sin.” “Sometimes,” the Pope said, “we need life to slap us.” Perhaps this is how life is slapping us in order to wake us from spiritual slumber.
We began the 40-day Lenten Season with Ash Wednesday. It’s a time of introspection and life-revision. The gospel on this 1st Sunday of Lent presents to us Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert. We affirm that Satan and evil are spiritual realities. The “father of lies” thrive better in secrecy and denial. The more he is invisible, the more havoc and destruction he effects to the ruin of souls. Jesus had to confront his cunning ways. The devil tempted Jesus in three major forms: power, prestige and prosperity. The liar swayed him to want more of everything and be in control of his destiny. But Jesus rejected these temptations of relying on material wealth, temporal power and worldly fame in order to firmly trust in his heavenly Father. He overcame temptations by anchoring his heart on God’s sincere promises.
Somebody said: “to keep your heart from growing cold, stay on fire for God.” Jesus went into the desert to ignite a new fire for God and embark on a new mission. He had to confront himself in order to live deliberately. This is something we can learn from Jesus in this Lenten Journey – to live deliberately, consciously and sincerely. We can look at temptation as a detour; it will draw us away from our true goals in life. We need to be in focus with a clear plan of action. It is difficult to break free from bad habits leading us to sin. But St. Francis de Sales teaches if we want to lessen the hold of harmful sins on us, we need to trace the root causes that lead us to sin. Many times it is just a matter of small excess or little hastiness in word or action we need to resist to enjoy true freedom. Let God awaken in us the ugliness of sin and the nobility of virtues. 
Prayer:Lord, awaken in me a great horror for sin that enslaves me; stir my heart to experience true freedom and peace. Amen. 

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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