Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen
A little while back there was discussion of changing a line in the Lord’s prayer and I actually think it was approved to do, though not all nations have adopted it. The line that was to be changed is “lead us not into temptation.” The thinking is that God does not lead one into temptation.
This is a blog post I did not want to write, but I feel compelled to write it because I have come to understand that the original translation is correct, at least in my life. I am not a theologian, but I completely understand why it was prayed the way it was prayed.
I believe that the reason for the change was thought to be that a Father does not lead you into temptation, a Father helps you get up immediately. But that begs the question, how can a Father help you to get up if you have not first fallen? And does the Father want you to fall? I will try to answer that in a moment.
Since the beginning of the temptation in the garden, we did fall and the Father wants to get us back to his original conception of us, which is purity.
I am going to tell you a story that I am not proud of. I have held it in for months, but it is time.
I have come a long long way in my Spiritual Life. There are things from my past I no longer do and my relationship with God is good. I know that God is love, and God is good, all the time. I also know that suffering doesn’t go away when you know this.
Two years ago I may have boasted to you about how far the Lord had brought me. How I was purging sin from my life. Then, as we all know things in the world got crazy, and a new level of purification was taking place. Suddenly we found ourselves in a pandemic, and the worst part about it for me was not the sickness, I had COVID, with my elderly parents in my home. The worst part of it to me was the judgment we were levying upon others. People asking me, who I got it from, as if to point fingers, or did I do what I was told to do? Who is the evil person we can blame? Then there is the way we segregate from one another based on varying different things, masks, vaccines. The way articles were written calling people murderers, which is something that Satan is. It really is Satan who is to blame. I felt the Lord stretching my comfort. Could I walk into a place and see people without levying harsh judgment upon them? I can be right in my convictions, but it does not give me license to rage at another person or to act like another person is a disease with no dignity.
I plugged along. I had moments. I tried to love the people right in front of me. I do not want to be tempted like that. Tempted to not love. Tempted to harsh judgment. But the devil knows me and my weaknesses. So he hit me in another area. The temptation to judge myself and try to make myself my own Savior.
So here is where we get to the part that I don’t want to speak of. If you have been reading my blog you know that along side of COVID and what it did to all of us, it also catapulted my parents into steep decline. I moved my folks 4 times, mom had two strokes and broke her hip, and dad is on hospice, his heart in AFIB.
Prior to all of this, I was feeling pretty good about myself and the fact that I had “conquered” some of my bigger sins. My first mistake is thinking that I conquered anything. God is the one who conquers. God alone is good.
So in March I found myself in a situation where my comfort was totally stretched. I was constantly worried about mom and dad and my kids. I was trying to figure out how to handle all of this. And I was lead into temptation. And I fell. The devil told me, “you have so much going on. you deserve a break, you should crack open that bottle of wine. You should keep drinking it because you need to relax.”
So the temptation was to turn to an old behavior to comfort me in my distress and to turn away from God. I got drunk ya’ll. Really drunk. I can say that it had actually been years since that had happened. It is not a sin to drink in moderation. But the drunkeness, the kind that many of us have partaken in, yes that is a sin. Many of you may be reading this and think, that’s understandable. It is understandable. But understandable isn’t what we’re called to. We’re called to say no to temptation.
I woke up in the morning sick and ashamed. The devil tried to convince me not to go to confession because you work at a church and the Priest will judge you and people will judge you. I knew enough not to listen. I went to confession. The Priest stopped me when I said, “I got drunk last night.” He asked, “is that a problem for you? do you need rehab or counseling?
Shame overtook me. I relayed to him that I didn’t think so because it had been years. But I left humiliated. And I wanted to tell no one else. I could have been mad at the Priest, but he was actually doing his duty trying to help. I could have justified it to the Priest, everyone can see how hard this all is. But I know Jesus is my justification, when I justify, He can’t. The other thing is that when we are transparent the devil is disarmed. He can no longer accuse you.
So why am I telling you now? Because the Lord isn’t done with me. Does the Father want us to fall? Well, no, but He does want us to be “perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) And by putting you to the test God’s perfection can be accomplished, so that one day, you don’t fall and you learn to overcome temptation, even when your comfort is stretched. He did put me to the test. It was my choice that I failed. He is leading me not into temptation, but into purification. He is actually answering my prayer. The way the spirit thrust Jesus into the desert, I have been thrust into a purification that tempts me to old sins. Suffering tempts us to sin. And I failed. But in my failing I went to the only place I know of to be restored. Confession. And I realized how the one thing we need to rely on to make us perfect is Mercy and Grace, which come to us Sacramentally. We pray not to be led into temptation because we fail often when we are allowed to be tempted, but the next line is “but deliver us from evil,” and that is done through the acceptance of His mercy which raises us to heights we have never known. Sometimes the loving Father knows exactly what you need to accomplish His will. He doesn’t want me to fall, he wants me to recognize where my weakness is and bring it to Him.
Our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41) But if we keep turning all of our failings back to God, He can, layer by layer, perfect us. Because the perfection of God is impossible for us, but with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
We can see with the Apostles that they too, when tempted, failed. They kept turning back to God, relying on His mercy, getting filled with His grace. And now, now they’re Saints who advocate for us.
Deliver us from evil Lord so your Kingdom can be on earth as it is in heaven.