As I was contemplating last weekend’s Gospel, where Jesus teaches us the Lord’s Prayer, my mind immediately went to the “Lead us not into temptation” part of the prayer. Of course I would like the Lord to remove all temptation from my life, but that isn’t going to happen. And one particular temptation I think is part of our modern society. I call it, “The Holy Parking Lot of God.”
This is the parish parking lot, where it is my personal belief that our faith is tested more than at almost any other time of the week. We attend Mass, and (hopefully) lift our hearts and minds to the Lord, and receive His Grace, especially through the Eucharist. We are at the “source and summit” of our lives as Catholics.
Then we go out into the parking lot to go home, and immediately receive temptations to our lives of faith. This is especially true at the great celebrations of Christmas and Easter, when I have seen and heard octogenarians swear in great and long sentences at Knights of Columbus who are directing traffic. At one point, a rather exasperated Knight asked a lady who was verbally abusing him, “Do you take Communion with that tongue?”
This can be the first real test of our lives of faith each and every week. We pray and ask the Lord to guide and strengthen us in His path of peace and holiness – and then we get to practice those traits just trying to get out of the parking lot. Talk about a quick answer to a prayer!
(For a great exposition on the Lord’s Prayer, check out the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 2759-2865, which is the last section of the Catechism. You can reference the entire Catechism online from the Vatican by clicking here.)