THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!
This may be one of the oldest excuses in the book (Cf. Genesis 3:13); but it is a false excuse. As we learn through the story of the temptation of Jesus in today’s Gospel, the devil cannot make anyone do anything. Why? Because God created us with free will. This free will God has endowed with a sovereignty which even he respects. God permits no one to relinquish this sovereignty but us ourselves. The devil may entice and even deceive, but only we can decide to give in to his enticement and deception.
Unfortunately it is from the exercise of freedom that sin is possible. Along with the sovereignty of our freedom comes the responsibility for our free choices. The responsibility for good choices is called merit or virtue; the responsibility for evil choices is called guilt or sin. Of course, to make a truly free choice, we must understand the choice we are making. We may be mistaken, in which case we are not guilty of deliberate sin. An honest examination of conscience is the only way to separate sin from virtue. A good confession in the sacrament of penance is the way to open the soul to the grace of divine forgiveness and reconciliation.
This Lent it is time again for us to “repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) The sacrament of penance is the most powerful means of persevering in this resolve, because its grace is the result of Christ’s obedient sacrifice for the redemption of the world. The Lenten discipline of prayer and penance finds its completion in a good confession and act of contrition. The prayer of absolution frees us from the sinful entanglements into which we fall. Take advantage of the opportunity for confession and the conversion it affords.
SAFE HAVEN SUNDAY
Throughout our diocese this weekend we are observing Safe Haven Sunday. Its purpose is to alert parents to the pervasive presence of pornography in online technology—the same technology students use for reading, research, entertainment and social communication. It is hoped that by maintaining an atmosphere of openness and vigilance, parents can make their home a safe haven from pornography for their children. Parents of students in our Catholic schools and religious-education programs have received copies of a book entitled Equipped: SmartCatholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture. Copies are available in the church entryways for parents who did not get them. Begin learning how to talk to your children about Internet dangers by joining The Equipped 7-Day Challenge: A Digital Crash Course by texting SECURE to 66866.
May this Lenten season be one of grace and blessing for all of us, especially those who may have become estranged from the Church and desire reconciliation. Pray the “Safe Haven Sunday Prayer” for your home and family; and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.