Our Sinful Nature Needs To Be Disciplined

    A man took his young son to a baseball game. While they were sitting there, he asked the boy what he was going to give up for Lent. The boy replied, "I don't know, Dad. What are you going to give up?" His father said, "I've thought about this a lot and decided to give up liquor." Later in the game, the beer man came by, and the man ordered a beer. His son objected, "Dad, I thought you were giving up liquor!" He answered, I'm giving up hard liquor. This is just a beer." To which the boy replied, "Well then, I'm giving up hard candy."

    The Bible phrase with which our Lord answered Satan in the desert, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test," is better known in its older translation, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God." The point is version tell us, "Don't shake your fist at God!"

    St. John Henry Newman commented that a believer's disciplined principle (ascetical) is basic to healthy Christianity. He meant that Christians, at their best, understand that our sinful nature has to be chastised, disciplined, and rightly ordered. Starting from the 20th century, the ascetical instinct disappeared. Spiritual life rapidly has become superficial and weakened, devolving into an easy "I'm okay and you're okay" attitude. The whole point of the Christian life is to find joy, but the attainment of true joy comes at the cost of some suffering. There are certain tendencies within our bodies and souls that are preventing the achievement of full friendship with God and therefore we need to seek quite sensibly to discipline ourselves.

    A young mother wanted to quit smoking. She knew it was bad for her health and the people around her. For her, it had been a vicious cycle of quitting and restarting. Each relapse was inflicting a heavier toll on her body and self-esteem. One tension-filled day, while on a busy run to do the shopping, the urge to light up a cigarette was overpowering. Without knowing why, she pleaded to son seated beside her to ignore what she was going to do. He said, "All right, Mom! But please do not look at me." She peeped anyway. The little boy was bowing his head in prayer, with the palms of his hands joined. The mother knew that she could not betray the faith of her praying son. The desire for a cigarette left her. From then on, she had more strength to cope with her weakness. Her little son had helped her to overcome temptation and addiction.

    Let us this Lent help us to discipline ourselves and have full friendship with God.


In the Service of the Lord,
  Fr Thainese Alphonse


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St. Bernadette Catholic Church