Daily Office - Thursday, March 26

Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:1-3, 8-11
Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Solitude is the furnace of transformation. Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self. Jesus himself entered into this furnace. There he was tempted with the three compulsions of the world: to be relevant ("turn stones into loaves"), to be spectacular ("throw yourself down"), and to be powerful ("I will give you all these kingdoms"). There he affirmed God as the only source of his identity ("You must worship the Lord your God and serve him alone"). Solitude is the place of the great struggle and the great encounter-the struggle against the compulsions of the false self and the encounter with the loving God who offers himself as the substance of the new self... In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding: no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make... The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone.
-Henry Nouwen

Question to Consider
What temptations or trials do you find yourself in today that God might be using as a furnace to help develop your interior life?

Lord, help me turn down the volume of the voices that tell me I have little worth unless I am wealthy, influential, and popular. Grant me the grace today to experience your voice, which tells me: you are "my child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16). In Jesus' name, amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)