We have now begun our annual observance of Lent, a time of grace when God is near to us in a special way.
Of course, he is always near us, looking at us with great love, but in Lent it is as if the door to Heaven is open wider and it is easier to go in.
To respond to God’s offer, Catholics engage in three practices during Lent: fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Fasting, that is giving up anything we enjoy throughout Lent, opens our hearts to spiritual realities; almsgiving helps us to make our love for God concrete by loving our neighbour; and prayer means deepening our relationship with God. What practical steps can we take?
Our picture shows a twelfth century mosaic in the great cathedral of St. Mark in Venice, depicting the three temptations of Christ by the devil which is the main story of this season: to turn stones into bread, to jump off the temple parapet for angels to catch him; and to worship the devil himself.
We may not be great artists ourselves, but perhaps we could each draw our own picture: what are the three temptations that most affect me in my life – anything from laziness to bad temper, or negative thinking, or wasting time on unimportant things. We could then ask God to show us the best way of combatting these temptations. Jesus did it by quoting a verse from the Bible each time: can you find a Bible verse or other inspirational saying to keep in mind when you are tempted?