Remembering the Source of Our Strength

In the Magnificat’s Lenten Compantion, Fr. Richard Veras gives us an important reminder during Lent. He observes that it is easy for us to see Lent as a time during which we focus on ourselves, on our own self-improvement.

This focus on our efforts, feeds into a tendency many of us have to think we can do it all on our own. If I just try harder… If I just push myself a little more… We have the illusion that we can will ourselves to a state of holiness (which for many of us translates into a notion that we can will ourselves to perfection).

Fr. Veras reminds us that Jesus suffered from no such delusion. Veras writes

How does Jesus resis the temptations of the devil? He is not relying on moral strength or trying hard to adhere to a code of ethics. It is Jesus’ unwavering love, trust, and affection for his Father which renders the devil and his temptations powerless.

Jesus understood something that we all need to embrace more fully.

I’m not saying we can’t all benefit from trying a little harder, and there are certainly some steps we can take on our own. But we do need to remember that our ultimate source of strength lies not in us, but in God. “Our hope, Fr. Veras writes, “is not in our strength, but in gazing upon Christ who first gazes upon us.”