First Sunday of Lent
Although many consider the basic progression of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to be that of “weeks”, the actual division falls along the classic stages of spiritual growth known as purgation, illumination, and union. All the great spiritual writers have identified this progression, which has its roots in the message of Christ, and which calls for repentance, living lives in accordance with God’s intention so that we will be in union with God for all eternity. The first step in spiritual growth is the identification of those things that take us from God. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus tempted by those allurements, St. Ignatius identifies as honor, riches, and pride. The devil hasn’t changed his bait for some time since the allure of honor, riches and pride has proved so successful throughout human history. Jesus puts all the right perspective, as does St. Ignatius of Loyola in his First Principle and Foundation. Ignatius sets the priority straight by pointing out the proper relationship between God and creation that should be used for the service and praise of God.