As someone drawn to Dominican spirituality, and as a Thomist, I read “Meditations for Lent” every spring. It is a perfect Lenten reflection and meditation book.
“It was fitting that Christ should be tempted.“
As Aquinas explains, Christ willed himself to be tempted. Giving the reason that he may better assist us against our own temptations. Just as the suffering of Christ (which Aquinas deals with in subsequent meditations) allows Him to better minister to us in our own suffering, the resistance of temptations does the same.
Aquinas quotes St. Gregory:
That our Redeemer, who had come to earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by his own, in the same way that he had come to overcome our death by his death.”
He further explains that another reason is to show that no man, should think himself safe and free from temptation. It is here I want to really direct our attention. It isn’t the temptation itself, something Christ proves we will all face, that is the sin – it is the succumbing and capitulation to the sin.
Aquinas doesn’t leave us unaided though, for he says that along with these instructions, Christ also showed us how to overcome the temptation.
Let us resist that which plagues our souls this Lent, and let us resist those temptations that will surely visit us in our deserts.