Every year I give the same thing up for Lent: soda.
It's my weakness. An ice-cold Coke, preferably from McDonald’s, is usually the quick fix to a migraine. When I travel, sometimes the only thing I want while sitting in an airport is a Sprite—the carbonated lime drink that gives me a brief reprieve from the guilt I feel from being gone from home.
And every year, two or three weeks into the Lenten season, I fall to the temptation and drink a soda . . . and once I’ve broken that fast, it’s easy to just give up the whole thing.
I give into the temptation to drink them so easily. I justify it every time. “It’s just one measly little Coke. It won’t kill me.” Or I’ll tell myself that I deserve the Sprite—Jesus would want me to have it.
And while Jesus probably doesn’t not want me to have a soda from time to time, there are two points of giving the soda up: make a sacrifice for Him and keep my mind more attuned to what He offers me, rather than fixate on a syrupy, carbonated beverage.
Temptations are easy for me to fall into. I’m good at convincing myself that the sin isn’t really so bad, or I feed myself the lie that because it was far easier for Jesus to fight off temptation, I should get a free pass. He did it, but I can’t.
But Jesus did have to fight. He faced temptation in the most profound and challenging way: standing face to face with the devil who tempted Him to eat bread (while He was starving), tempted Him to prove His power (to someone who doesn’t believe in Him), and tempted Him to take the easy way out of His ministry (and avoid the Cross).
We see clearly just how challenging it was for Jesus to face the temptations of the devil, and, in that, we’re reminded that we don’t face temptation alone. He stands with us—beside us—and proclaims for us, “Get away, Satan!”
This litany of the Holy Name of Jesus is a great prayer to call upon the Lord.
Katie Prejean McGrady is an international Catholic speaker and author of four books with Ave Maria Press. After working as a theology teacher and parish youth minister for six years, Katie now travels full time around the world, speaking about faith, culture, family, evangelization, discipleship, and the best way to order a flat white. She is the project manager of Ave Explores, an initiative of Ave Maria Press, and the host of the Ave Explores podcast. She and her husband Tommy host a podcast (The Electric Waffle), have a dog (Barney), and a two year old (Rose). They live in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Find out more about her here.