Maria Montemayor

Learning from my temptations

By  Maria Montemayor, Youth Speak News
  • March 11, 2016

During Lent, we are all like Jesus, starving in the desert and being asked to turn stone into bread. But we must choose each and every time to say no. Even in the “Our Father” we ask God to “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” But why must we face temptations during Lent and how do they shape us?
This Lenten season I decided to give up Facebook and YouTube videos. The reason was simple. I wanted to be more productive. So, I resolved to liberate myself from procrastination and to purposefully get work done.

At first, I was constantly tempted to check Facebook or watch YouTube videos. But after a while, I realized that what I really struggled with was being alone with my own thoughts. Facebook and YouTube had always distracted me from using my time wisely and from setting goals for myself. With my fast, I found myself being able to reflect more on things that matter. I have found myself tapping into more productive and creative energy which has allowed me to spend more time reading, writing and performing.

Lenten sacrifices can be similar to New Year’s resolutions where people have the mentality that just because they gave into a temptation once, or even twice, their resolution is a sham so they should give it up altogether. People should not be so self-critical and should instead consider their failures as learning opportunities so they can try again.

One year, I gave up meat for Lent, vainly bragging about being vegetarian to my family members. As a person who loves to eat, losing meat was a huge sacrifice especially when I would have to watch my family members eat delicious chicken while I only ate fried eggplant and avocado sushi rolls.

One day, I attended an event at my university and ate a bun at the reception. The bun had meat in it, which I did not realize until after I had put it in my mouth. Disappointed in eating meat, I had a choice. I could give up on my fast altogether and continue to eat meat, or I could try again and hope I did not make another mistake. I chose to stick with my fast. Fasting from meat ultimately helped me appreciate the luxury of food and to eat in moderation.

For many people, avoiding temptation is the key to succeeding in New Year’s resolutions, Lenten sacrifices and life in general. Though I agree with that notion, I also believe that facing temptations regardless of the outcome helps strengthen a person’s character.

As Catholics, we are fortunate enough to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation if we ever encounter personal setbacks. While we try to renew ourselves through our Lenten fast, confession is always available for us if we do happen to fall into sin and hope to keep on the path of redemption.

(Montemayor, 23, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and political science from the University of Toronto.)

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