April 17, 2024

Temptation is the work of the devil. Temptation works with deception and cunnings. A bad or evil is coated good to attract. Hence, it is not easy to detect. The devil can make use of everything to prosper his evil purpose.

The first Sunday of Lent illustrated temptation in the Book of Genesis 2:7. Adam and Eve were tempted and deceived. The devil made use of his cunnings to attract the pride of Adam and Eve. Eventually, they fell and broke their covenant relationship with God. They disobeyed the commandment, from which sin, shame, and guilt were born.

We read the temptation of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke 4: 1-13. Jesus was able to defeat the persistent temptations of the devil because he was filled with the Spirit. Jesus was spiritually prepared and vigilant. He prayed and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights which we observe today as Lent.

Temptation is a reality. We must find time to pray and fast to read and defeat temptations. Sin is the transgression of the covenant relationship and charity. 

Healthy spirituality is awareness of good and evil. Morality therefore is avoiding evil and doing good. Healthy spirituality is admitting one’s sins to repent and undergo conversion. When our sense of sin continues to corrode, we can no longer decipher good from bad.

One of my many weaknesses that continue to disturb my peace is my poor anger management. I made anger management as one of my New Year’s resolution but I am having a great difficulty achieving it. “You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Although you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him.” (Psalm 19:10) I am often carried by my emotions allowing anger to overcome my disposition. I need prayers.

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We observe Lent every year to help us mature our spirituality. In one of my Lenten dreams, a Lenten wreath was born.

If we are guided and reminded by the Advent wreath on Advent season, it makes sense to have one on Lenten season for the same reason. The elements and meanings of the Lenten wreath were vivid when I woke up. Creativity, arts, spirituality, and prayer were significant instruments to complete the Lenten wreath.

The Kilong Lenten wreath is made from natural materials.

1. The vertical part of the cross is made up of 14 pine twigs to symbolize the 14 Stations of the Cross.

2. The horizontal part is made up of three pine twigs to signify the three questions of Jesus to Peter, “Do you love me?”

3. The cross symbolizes the way of Jesus’ death and the cross being raised to a sign of salvation.

4. The three circles made from dried rattan with nails fixed in the middle of the cross symbolize the thorns of Jesus and the three betrayals of Jesus.

5. The five candles on the foot of the cross in violet and pink signify the five Sundays of Lent observed by fasting and abstinence, alms giving, and prayer.

The candles remind the five Lenten Sundays of spiritual nourishment. Temptation will always be around. It is not a sin objectively but it is the strategy of the devil to put down people, bring people away from God, and violate love.

To fall into temptation is sin. We read the deception of the devil and the manner to defeat temptations through fasting and prayer. Jesus was tempted thrice but he read the devil and he triumphed over the temptations. He was filled with the Spirit.

The candles must remind us of the necessity to pray, fast, and do charitable deeds.

6. The violet stole hanging on the horizontal part of the cross signify the three missions of Jesus lived by ordained ministers.

7. The five sharpened pined twigs inserted on the foot of the cross signify the five wounds of Jesus. The wounds that healed humanity. Jesus emptied himself. He suffered and died for us. The five pine twigs signify selflessness.

The first Lenten candle was lit on the first Sunday of Lent. The wreath reminds Lent and the manner we observe it.

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