After his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:1-2 NRSV).
The idea of temptation and contemplation sounds like two individuals dating who are totally incompatible. There is another statement about dating, “Opposites do attract.” Temptation is an opportunity for us to face some realities about ourselves; however unpleasant or difficult; and allow God in Jesus Christ to love us and save us.
In his commentary on the Psalms, St. Augustine wrote;
If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptation and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation. (The Liturgy of the Hours, Volume II, Lent Season and Easter Season, p.88).
In Christ we have the opportunity to see ourselves from God’s point of view. We are not helpless, nor are we alone. We are cherished by God by the point where we can experience the transforming grace of God in Christ, and grow closer to the person God created and redeemed us to be; even in the face to temptations worst work. We are all deeply loved and desired by the heart of God; to seek union with God. That desire within us is there by God’s initiative. It is there so that we can respond to the grace of God and desire God alone for God’s sake with pureness of heart.
Are you willing to allow God to show you how to turn your temptations into an opportunity for contemplation?
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB