Saturday 9 March

12Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

I do not like temptation. I do not want to struggle. I do not want to be divided within myself. I detest that tiny monster within who is determined to get his own way and is always poised to rush to his own defense. I do not want to be that person for whom gentleness is so difficult and surrender often almost impossible.

But, I know this is the person I am. Or, at least, this is one person who lives inside me. There is always a part of my being the resists life as it is and is determined to force circumstances to conform to my wishes and desires.

If this small, petty, resentful, angry, bitter, self-seeking person is in fact all of who I am, there would be no “temptation,” no struggle. I would happily resign myself to doing everything in my power to make the world unfold according to my wishes. But, I am unable to resign myself completely to this dark vision of who I am.

I know I was created for something better, more luminous and beautiful than my self-will seems determined to achieve. Part of my being drives towards death, another part longs for life, truth, goodness, and kindness. And so I struggle. I cannot settle easily with either side of my nature. They are always to some degree at war within me.

I must “hü-po-me’-nō”; I must endure, or perhaps better, “abide”, literally “remain with”… “remain with” what? I must remain with “love”. Stay with that openness, forgivingness, kindness, compassion, and gentleness, that come from the presence of love in my life and manifest love through me in the world.

Yes I struggle. But the challenge in the midst of struggle is always to hear that voice of love saying, “Love this… yes this… even this nasty brutish little thug in yourself who stamps his foot and rants against the unfairness and injustice of life.” It is only when I can love this in myself, that I have a hope of beginning to love that toddler in others who throws temper-tantrums just like my own.