As you fast, you will find that temptations may seem stronger than ever and that’s because they are. It was only when Jesus went into the desert and fasted for 40 days was he first tempted three times by Satan, so we can most certainly expect the same, even the exact same temptations.
- Just like Jesus, Satan will tempt your hunger. “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” (Mt. 4:3) Perhaps it will sound more like, “if you’re really going to fast today, you will still need coffee.” Or maybe “Just a little peanut butter on your bread won’t make a difference. You must be so hungry!” Thankfully, Jesus overcame this temptation and we too can over come it and pray His words, “It is written: ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’” In moments of hunger and temptation, let us turn to the Holy Bible and dine on His Word. Even more so, we can attend Holy Mass and Adoration to encounter and receive the Risen Lord, and to turn to Him for strength.
- In Jesus’ second temptation Satan says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you and with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” (Mt. 4:6) This is a temptation to test God or to test our trust in God. Maybe it’d sound like, “You’re fasting aren’t you? Getting closer to God, yet you just found out that terrible news. Are you sure God loves you?” Or maybe, “I’m late to work so I’ll speed on the highway, God won’t let anything bad happen to me.” Sound all too familiar? Let us thank Jesus for His example, for His response, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” We too can pray and overcome this temptation and say to God, “Lord, I will not put you to the test and I trust in Your Will and plan for me.”
- In the third temptation, Jesus is confronted with false worship. “All these [kingdoms of the world] I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” Maybe it’d sound like, “Fasting isn’t going to help you or your intentions. You need more money and a bigger house to really solve your problems.” Or even, “You can fast next week, or another day. It doesn’t need to happen right now.” In moments that start to pull us away from focusing on God and His Will, let us place ourselves at the foot of the cross and look up at our crucified Jesus who loves us so much. We can also pray Jesus’ words in such temptations, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” By choosing God, we love Him and serve Him. Let God rule in our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits.
After the third temptation, it says, “Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.” (Mt. 4:10-11) Angels came and ministered to Him, would the same not be true for us? If we’re fasting and experiencing the same temptations as Jesus Christ, we know too that angels will come and minister to us. What a grace and blessing!
In all of these temptations, there is a common theme: Satan trying to ruin our relationship with God, trying to rob us of our identity as Children of God, as disciples of Jesus Christ. Let us remember that Jesus is our guide and our friend, and that He overcame all of these temptations and He wants to help us overcome ours. He is with us and in us when we fast! Let us not be afraid to call on Him during times of temptation and to pray His prayers, especially the Our Father. Jesus is victorious over Satan through His prayers and fasting, and the same is true for us.