The first letter of John reveals three potent enemies we need to battle against during the next 40 days.
Lent is a time of spiritual combat, and there are three particular enemies to fight during this special liturgical season.
Many spiritual writers in the Church point to St. John’s first letter to unmask these enemies.
All that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life!1 John 2:16
Dom Prosper Gueranger explains these three enemies in his Liturgical Year.
By the concupiscence of the flesh, is meant the love of sensual things, which covets whatever is agreeable to the flesh, and, when not curbed, draws the soul into unlawful pleasures.
Concupiscence of the eyes expresses the love of the goods of this world, such as riches, and possessions; these dazzle the eye, and then seduce the heart.
Pride of life is that confidence in ourselves, which leads us to be vain and presumptuous, and makes us forget that all we have – our life and every good gift – we have from God.
He then explains that even Jesus combatted against these enemies at the end of his 40 days in the desert, and reveals how he defeated them.
Our Savior, then, who would be our model in all things, deigned to subject himself to these three temptations … But, let us observe how it is, that our Divine Model, our Redeemer, overcomes the tempter. Does be hearken to his words? Does he allow the temptation time? and give it strength by delay? We did so, when we were tempted, and we fell. But our Lord immediately meets each temptation with the shield of God’s word. He says: It is written: Not on bread alone doth man live. It is written: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. It is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. – This, then, must be our practice for the time to come.
As we struggle against these enemies during Lent, may we look to Jesus for help and inspiration, wielding a shield of faith against every obstacle.