I do not “go to church”. There is a lengthy history behind the reasons why not. I adhere to the Western Rite and its calendar for the most part, but recognize and respect the Eastern Rite as well.

I do not care much for differences in Eastern or Western calendars, nor do I quite understand what full moons have to do with divisions in the Catholica. And the Jewish Passover? Not even going there…

But Orthodox Easter (Pascha) coming next Sunday this year gave me another opportunity to assess what I learned from my own Western Rite observance of the Lenten season.

Namely, “Wait A Few Minutes…

Soooo, I am going to lecture my readers regarding patience? Not exactly, just something like that.

Temptations struck me with unusual force this round due to certain unusual events in my life, and the consequences. My problem was not so much desiring to fulfill the temptations. I recognized each for what these were the moment I was beset by them. But when the empty promises of the powers of darkness befall me, exhibiting their depressing power, how do I “get the monkey off my back”? Recognizing temptation for what it is, how do I get rid of it?

Just “Wait a few minutes…

I recognize also that I have had a lifelong problem with depression. And I knew that my depression was in part supporting the ferocity of the temptations that I frequently, even daily, felt. Having recently returned to a thirty-day recitation/prayer of the Book of Psalms, I struggled with the imprecatory Psalms, yes, the ones that are not so nice, the ones wherein I get to pray to Yahweh for the destruction of mine enemies, and to vanquish my detractors utterly. Lo, the temptations that I felt…

There my more rational self uncovered the problem. “Felt…” I knew, but needed the reminder that a temptation is an emotion, nothing more. Emotions are what we feel concerning a thought we entertain, or an event past or present, or a current issue involving another party. Barring any medical issues, depending on what value we attribute to a given thought, the intensity with which we experience an emotional enticement will vary.

So where to look for a constant, some notion to place over against the emotional become inordinate and even irrational? Temptation, being in itself an instance of emotion, is of itself fleeting. I dare say that most instances of a desire for some thing, some ‘other’, or some outcome occur in the moment. And that is all.

Reason has its basis in nature. Changes in the natural order do not occur in the instant, but over long periods of time. This is also true of nature’s innate ability to repair itself when damage occurs. Sometimes that requires decades, as vegetation grows again already at the Chernobyl site. Then sometimes it requires millions of years. If I read that phenomenon correctly, nature testifies of a divine patience on the part of its Creator.

I do believe, as ‘this creature’ found during the Lenten season, that my resistance to the very temptations I was experiencing witnessed to the patient presence of the Creator within me. The patience of “The Lord, the Giver of Life” within called forth a patience with myself. Recognizing what had been done to me, and recognizing what I had done to myself, I also realized how it is that the “repairs” might take some time, certainly more time than this particular temptation.

Temptations arise from what we feel about something. But what and how we feel about that something tend to disappear in the face of that patience with ourselves.

So, the lesson that I learned from the past Lent about resistance to temptations? It’s simple.

Just “Wait a few minutes…”

Father David+

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