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Let it go!

The story is told about a teenager who asked his father: “Dad, is it okay to smoke while I am praying?” The father replied: “That is not okay, my son.” Added the son: “But is it okay to pray while I am smoking?” The father answered: “That is okay, my son.”

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In today’s Gospel (Mt. 4, 1-11), Jesus was led to the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil who is the master of lies and half-lies. If Jesus were not strong in the Spirit, He would have succumbed to the lures and enticements of the evil one. What made Jesus strong? Prayer and fasting. May we learn and live these two disciplines as we journey on, especially in this season of Lent.

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As it were, God allows us to be tempted in our resolve to do good and avoid evil, and in fact we fall again and again. But our human frailty and failures should not lead us to despair and hopelessness. We can overcome temptations if we know how to pray and flee. We can overcome our hopelessness if we trust in Divine Mercy.

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Let it go! When temptation starts to grow, just let it go! The best way to stop a fire is to stop it while it is still small and low.

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Today is National Migrants’ Sunday. We remember, we honor, and we pray today for our Filipino brothers and sisters who brave difficulties, loneliness, and even persecution in foreign lands for the sake of a better future for their families and for our country the Philippines. We pray, too, that our government will be truly supportive of and really present to them, especially in their times of need.

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We pray for a time, soon, that no Filipino will have to go to another country just to find work. There is a lot of danger and temptations for overseas workers and also for the families left behind. As statistics have shown, the phenomenon of Filipinos working overseas has brought in the dollars, but also untold damage to families and to our society in general. Again, half-truths are dangerous.  We need money to live, but we don’t need to live for money. Money isn’t everything in this world.

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In this season of Lent, we are reminded that we all are migrants in this world. We are all just passing through, and from dust we came, to dust we will go. May we be reminded, again, that life is short, death is certain, and that we carry nothing with us when we leave this life, except the love we have shared in our hearts.

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When tempted, think of death. Think of yourself lying in the coffin. What seems so big, so important, in your life now—would it matter then?

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Pera, power, pride, pleasures. These are the 4 Ps that seem so big now, and which we often cannot let go, and which can cause our downfall now and can close the door for eternal life if we don’t learn to let them go.

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Pera. How many persons, how many friendships, how many families, have been destroyed because of money? The devil is a genius when it comes to using money to cause our downfall. All the news and current events are full of stories about cheating, lying, theft, corruption, killing—all because of money. Let us not make money our God.

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Power. This early, our politicians and government leaders are positioning themselves for power. And they will do whatever it takes to get the power or stay in power. Let us not make power our God.

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Pride. How many problems and quarrels could have been avoided, or could have been resolved, if we learned to swallow our pride! And how peaceful life would be if we realized that we need not compare ourselves to others. The bottom line is that we are all sinners and unworthy servants needing God’s mercy and in need of true repentance. “Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, a sinner!” Let not our pride become our God.

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Pleasures. All of us have weaknesses, and the devil knows what these are, and he knows when best to pounce on us. Many times, he need not tempt us for we ourselves seek and pursue our pleasures. May we learn to just pray and flee! Let not our pleasures become our God.

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I’m sharing with you the prayer of St. Benedict to protect us from the evil one and to help us overcome temptations: “May His presence protect us in the hour of death. May the Holy Cross be my light. Let not the dragon be my guide. Begone, satan! Suggest not to me your vain things. The drink you offer is evil. Drink that poison yourself!”

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“Protect us from snares and enticements of evil, keep our feet from stumbling.” This intercession prayer from the Divine Office (Breviary), Saturday Morning Prayer, Week IV should be our constant prayer as we journey on. Temptations are real. So are God’s mercy and power!

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to pray harder, and flee faster, when temptation comes knocking at my door. Amen.

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Catholics, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, Gospel, Holy Spirit, Matthew, Moments, National Migrants Sunday, opinion, Religion, SVD, Temptation
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