LENTEN REFLECTION – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent – 7 MARCH
The devil’s strategy
by St Ambrose of Milan (337-397 AD) Doctor of the Church
The devil demonstrates simultaneously his weakness and his wickedness.
He is unable to harm anyone who does not harm himself. In fact, anyone who denies heaven and chooses the earth is, as it were, rushing towards a precipice, even though running of his own accord.
The devil, however, starts working as soon as he sees someone living up to faith’s commitments, someone who has a reputation for virtue, who does good works.
He tries to worm vanity into him, to make it possible for him to be puffed up with pride, become presumptuous, lose trust in prayer and not attribute to God the good that he does but to take all the credit himself.
LET US PRAY as Jesus taught us in today’s Gospel and with St Francis, who in his love for God was graced with this meditation:
Our Father: Creator, Redeemer, Saviour and Comforter.
In Heaven: In the angels and the saints. You give them light so that they may have knowledge, because You are light. You inflame them so that they may love, because You are love. You live continually in them so that they may be happy, because You are the supreme good, the eternal good, and it is from You all good comes and without You there is no good.
Hallowed be your name: May our knowledge of You become ever clearer, so that we may realise the breadth of Your blessings, the extent of Your promises, the height of Your majesty and the depth of Your judgments.
Your kingdom come: So that You may reign in us by Your grace and bring us to Your kingdom, where we shall see You clearly, love You perfectly, be happy in Your company and enjoy You for ever.
Your will be done, on Earth as in Heaven: That we may love You with our whole heart by always thinking of You; with our whole mind by directing our whole intention towards You and seeking Your glory in everything; and with all our strength by spending all our energies and affections of soul and body in the service of Your love alone. And may we love our neighbour as ourselves, encouraging them all to love You as best we can, rejoicing at the good fortune of others, just as if it were our own and sympathising with their misfortunes, while giving offence to no one.
Give us today our daily bread: Your own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to remind us of the love He showed for us and to help us to understand and appreciate it and everything that He did or said or suffered.
And forgive us our sins: In Your infinite mercy, and by the power of the passion of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, together with the merits and the intercession of the Blessèd Virgin Mary and all the saints.
As we forgive those who sin against us: And if we do not forgive perfectly, make us forgive perfectly, so that we may truly love our enemies for love of You and pray fervently to You for them, returning no one evil for evil, anxious only to serve everybody in you.
Lead us not into temptation: Hidden or obvious, sudden or unforeseen.
But deliver us from evil: Present, past or future. Amen.