|First Sunday of Lent, called "Invocabit"|
This Sunday is called Invocabit from the first word of the Introit. All the Sundays of Lent and those from Easter to Pentecost take their names from the Introits of the Mass. In the Introit of this day we are told: "He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him; I will deliver him and glorify him; I will fill him with length of days. He that dwelleth in the aid of the Most High shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven" (Ps. xc. 15, 16, 1).
he Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, vi. 1-10. Brethren: We do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain: for he saith: In an accepted time have I heard thee: and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time: behold, now is the day of salvation; giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, iIn chastity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armour of justice on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true: as unknown, and yet known: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised, and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing, and possessing all things.
By this epistle the Church admonishes us to profit by Lent as a season of grace, to spend it in earnestly combating sin and in the diligent performance of good works.
he Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, According to St. Matthew, iv. 1-11. At that time: Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down; for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain: and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left Him: and behold angels came and ministered to Him.
Our Saviour was lead by the Holy Ghost into the desert there to prepare by fasting forty days and nights for His holy ministry. Here the tempter approaches and seeks to betray Him. After He had overcome the Evil One angels came and ministered to Him: by which we learn that they who overcome temptations enjoy the consolation and assistance of the angels. This should encourage us to combat joyfully to the end.
What is temptation?
Temptation is an inducement to transgress the commandments of God. temptation comes from our own concupiscence (James i. 14); "for the flesh lusteth against the spirit" (Gal. v. 17.)
How does the devil tempt us?
He moves the natural concupiscence to such sins as he sees men particularly inclined to, and then deceives and confuses the man's mind, that he may not see clearly either the temporal loss, or the dishonor and danger of sin. He can, however, do nothing but what God permits. St. Augustine therefore compares him to a chained dog that can hurt only those who put themselves within his reach.
Does God also tempt us?
St. James says (i. 13), "Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God; for God is not a tempter of evils, and He tempteth no man." But He allows us to be tempted, sending us manifold trials.
Does God permit us to be tempted beyond our strength?
No; for He combats with us, and gives us always as much strength as is required to conquer temptations, and even to fain advantage from them (I. Cor. x. 13).
When do we consent to temptation?
When we decide of our own free will to do the evil proposed; as long as we resist, however little, we do not consent.
What are the best means to overcome temptation?
1. Humility and prayer. 2. The consideration of the suffering which follows sin, and of the happiness which awaits those who resist temptation. 3. Invoking the aid of the Blessed Virgin, our guardian angel, and all the saints. 4. Praying devoutly, "Lead us not into temptation," and calling on the holy name of Jesus.