Marian Helper Spring 2024

‘This dog can bark but cannot bite’ The Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent always recounts the temptations of Jesus in the desert. Depending on the year, we read the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, or Luke with some variations about the order or detail of the temptations. But they have in common that Jesus “was prompted, or rather stirred up or driven by the Divine Spirit to withdraw into the desert.” It would seem “strange” that the Holy Spirit would bring Jesus into the desert, but Jesus “recapitulates” the history of Israel in His own life. Where they failed in the desert, He succeeds in standing firm against sin. But we know that temptations are not a thing of the past. Saint Stanislaus, meditating upon this Gospel in his Inspectio Cordis, notes that there are “many people in the world who do not feel temptations.” But, ironically, that is not a good sign, for “the evil spirit believes them to be his own, and therefore he does not display his hostile force against them.” Rather, “he assaults with great intensity” those who seek — like Jesus — to live a life pleasing to the Father. Saint Stanislaus urges us to not be surprised at temptations as if they were “new and extraordinary.” We ought to expect the devil’s hatred, but we must remember, “His forces are weaker than can be imagined. This dog can bark but cannot bite.” Temptations Saint Stanislaus continues, mentioning the various temptations Satan may throw at us, depending on whether we are hungry, exhausted, despairing, etc. By his crafty temptations, By Fr. Thaddaeus Lancton, MIC Lenten wisdom from the Marian Founder 14 Marian Helper • Spring 2024 • Editor’s note: Inspectio Cordis (A Gaze of the Heart) is the title given to the collection of meditations for Sundays by the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczyński (1631-1701). These meditations, published weekly on Fridays online on in preparation for Sunday Mass, allow Jesus to gaze into your heart and teach you selfexamination, leading you to a more fruitful reception of Holy Communion, where there is a true encounter of our hearts with His Sacred Heart — especially fitting during this period of National Eucharistic Revival. Here, Fr. Thaddaeus offers St. Stanislaus’ meditations on the holy season of Lent.