Humans have human nature. That sounds like a Yogi Berra truism, but there is a wisdom that belies this simple turn of phrase. The Book of Genesis, the archetypal story of our nature, points out that we humans are not God. Yet, as a result of the Original Sin, the principal sin we commit has to do with why we are so persistently opposed to God’s will for us and stubbornly obstinant at doing what is bad for us. All sin is rooted in the sin of Adam, that Archetypal sin of wanting to be God. Ever ask yourself why the Devil tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Satan is a fallen Archangel and made wanted to be like God and was banished from the presence of God as a consequence of his choice. Ever since then, Satan has tried to seduce humans to choose his thinking rather than God’s to get revenge on God. Original sin is the condition into which all humans are born, the condition St. Paul refers to as the World. Baptism takes away the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, but its effect still remains with me. Our nature does not change. What does change is that Christ is our Savior, the one who tells us, “follow me and I will help you through the minefields of life so that you can join me in Heaven, forever.” Christ shows us how to repel the temptations of the Devil. Satan is not God’s son, as the popular television show, Lucifer, suggests, but rather someone who is consumed by hatred, jealousy, and envy and wants other humans to hate God as much as he does. Some believe that some do not. You are free to believe whatever you want. I must keep myself vigilant in being a Lay Cistercian because Satan most definitely uses our weaknesses and wounded nature to think that we don’t need God, only ourselves.
This idea was part of my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) when I meditated on the real meaning of sin. What follows are at least three temptations that Satan and his demons use to seduce my hope in the Resurrection and my Lay Cistercian practices. In a way, these three temptations are like the three temptations that Christ experienced in the desert. All of us have at least three of them. What are the three temptations that the Devil uses to seduce you as you practice taking up your cross daily to follow Christ?
My three temptations are about the three most important principles in my life, all part of my center. The Devil tries by any means available to make a crack in the foundation of this temple of the Holy Spirit. I confess to having some minor cracks, but I patched them up with Christ in the Sacrament of Forgiveness. I will experience the struggle of doing God’s will versus my own will for as long as I live.
LOVING GOD WITH ALL MY HEART, WITH ALL MY MIND AND WITH ALL MY STRENGTH AND MY NEIGHBOR AS MYSELF (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:36). That doesn’t sound like a temptation, does it? In the Garden of Eden, in the second story of creation, two trees are mentioned, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God says to Adam and Eve that he wants them to be his gardeners of the garden of Eden but warns them not to eat of this second tree. This is like mom and dad telling us not to do something with the result that we often do just that very thing.
Genesis 2 NRSVCE – 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
The temptation comes when I try to love God using my energy. It always falls short of loving with ALL my heart, so I just give us as being impossible. Actually, it is in the act of consistently trying repeatedly that makes the human love that I have transformed by the addition of the power of the Holy Spirit. With Christ, I can do all things.
WHEN CONFESSING MY SINS TO A PRIEST, ALL I NEED TO DO IS TELL HIM WHAT I WANT HIM TO HEAR, THEN GOD WILL AUTOMATICALLY FORGIVE ME. Not so fast! Confessing my sins is all about admitting to another person (who is given the power of Christ to forgive) my need to make all things new in my life, again, then having a firm purpose of amendment not to sin again. Who are you trying to fool? You can’t just say you are sorry for your sins and then go out and do them again. There is a big difference between knowing you can go out and sin as much as you want because you have a free pass to heaven with Baptism and sincerely knowing that what you do is bad and trying not to do it again. One is a perversion, and the other is conversion. You simply can’t fool God.
LIFE IS ALL ABOUT STORING UP RICHES IN THE MATERIAL WORLD. We can even be seduced by thinking that the word “riches” means possessions. We have to store up our treasures in this life to take to the next life in heaven. Only the rich get to heaven, but it is not your riches you must pack in your suitcase, but what God considers riches. And what are they? Read what a Catholic website has to say about these treasures. https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/scripture-and-tradition/catholic-basics/catholic-beliefs-and-practices/gifts-of-the-holy-spirit/
“In the Book of Isaiah 11:2-3, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are described. In the passage, the gifts are considered ones that the Messiah would have possessed. Through Jesus, we also receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Wisdom helps us recognize the importance of others and the importance of keeping God central in our lives.
Understanding is the ability to comprehend the meaning of God’s message.
Knowledge is the ability to think about and explore God’s revelation and recognize there are mysteries of faith beyond us.
Counsel is the ability to see the best way to follow God’s plan when we have choices related to him.
Fortitude is the courage to do what one knows is right.
Piety helps us pray to God in true devotion.
Fear of the Lord is the feeling of amazement before God, who is all-present, and whose friendship we do not want to lose.
Those are some of the riches you can take with you to Heaven.