I did not spend forty days at Slieve League (‘Gray Mountain’) – more like forty minutes. But the temptation to get frustrated was real.
The magnificent cliffs along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way provide a stunning vista – easily among the most breathtaking scenes I’ve ever had the opportunity to witness. It’s big and beautiful…so big that it’s nearly impossible to take a photo that does justice to the rugged seascape.
Hence my frustration. I wanted to capture the moment for posterity. Make it mine. Take possession of the beauty. Take it home with me.
I don’t think that was Satan whispering in my ear, exactly. But the echo in today’s Gospel is certainly enough to give me pause:
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you…
The gospel story is so familiar that sometimes I think we overlook the scandal of it all: A fallen angel, displaying an amazing measure of chutzpah – lying to the face of the Lord of the Cosmos.
It’s a reminder, as Lent begins in earnest, that we’d be wise to give the Devil his due. Satan is a master deceiver, and relentless in his pursuit of our separation from God.
And isn’t it a blessing to know that Jesus gives us the picture-perfect way to respond:
‘Get away, Satan!’
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.