Some learnings from Thomas Keating
“Lent is the season in which the church as a whole enters into an extended retreat. Jesus went into the desert for forty days and forty nights. The practice of Lent is a participation in Jesus’ solitude, silence and privation.”
“The temptations of Satan are allowed by God to help us confront our own evil tendencies.” ——-“Self-knowledge is experiential; it tastes the full depths of human weakness.”
In the desert Jesus is tempted by the primitive instincts of human nature. Satan first addresses Jesus’ security/survival needs, which constitute the first energy center”………”command these stones to become bread” “Jesus must have been desperately hungry” but he hungers even more for “the word that comes from the mouth of God” and so he is empowered to wait.
“Affection /esteem constitute the center of gravity of the second energy center. Everybody needs a measure of acceptance and affirmation.” “ In the path from infancy to adulthood, if these needs are denied, one seeks compensation for the real or imagined deprivations of early childhood. The greater the deprivation, the greater the neurotic drive for compensation”—-“manifest your power as a wonder-worker” then everyone will know you’re a ”bigshot”—— “This is the temptation to love fame and public esteem”
“The third energy center is to control events and to have power over others”………”All these I will bestow on you if”….the temptation to worship unlimited power ”is the last-ditch effort of the false self to achieve its own invulnerability and immortality” “Adoration of God is the antidote to pride and the lust for power. Service of others and not domination is the path to true happiness.”
“ Thus, out of love for us, Jesus experienced the temptations of the first three energy centers. Each Lent he invites us to join him in the desert and to share his trials. The Lenten observances are designed to facilitate the reduction of our emotional investment in the programs of early childhood. Liberation from the entire false-self system is the ultimate purpose of Lent. This process always has Easter as its goal. The primary observance of Lent is to confront the false- self. Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are in the service of this project. As we dismantle our emotional programs for happiness, the obstacles to the risen life of Jesus fall away, and our hearts are prepared for the infusion of divine life at Easter”
Extracts from “The Mystery of Christ” by Thomas Keating