The fourth Lenten reflection: Fr. Stanko Mabić on trials and temptations

date: 15.03.2021.

Fr. Stanko Mabic gave us the fourth Lenten reflection and the theme was on trials. In the beginning, he explained difference between trials and temptations, and said that many are mixing these two terms often.

’’Trials come from God and God is testing our fidelity in trials. The outcome of trials is always a life, God introduces us to life more. Temptations come from devil, satan is tempting us and wants to seduce us and lead into death. How do we make a difference between trials and temptations? There are many criteria, but I would say what comes in our mind first: Trials come from God and at first, they can seem repelling, hard, something we cannot imagine, it is not desired, we wish to run away from it…Temptations that come from satan are always nice, attractive, tempting, appealing to our eye, if we accept it, it is the beginning of the death”, said Fr. Stanko Mabić and added that we have many examples in the Bible on this and then shared the most impressive example of trials, when God said to Abraham: Take your son Isaac and bring him as an offering (see Genesis 22,1). What do you think Abraham had felt in those moments? He would have wanted to say: I cannot do that. If God said to Abraham: You have sinned against me!, or: Something happened, you need to go and lay your life for me! – I am sure that would not have been a problem. But he as a father, needs to take a knife and sacrifice his own son! This trial was so painful, it is so repelling, and we wish to escape it more than anything else.’’

Then, he places before us the example of temptations when satan says to Eve: Take a look at that tree…if you eat from it, you shall become like God! He whispers in her ear…the Scripture says that Eve looked at the tree, listened to satan, the voice of temptation, this all seemed so tempting and attractive and nice; and she ate the fruit from the tree (cf. Genesis 3,1-7)’’.

When we read the Bible, we can see that God tests man all the time, we are always being trialed. Trials are always with a certain purpose, perhaps we have three clear goals before us.

The first one is, that God want to verify fidelity of that person. In the book of Tobit, we read that the angel Raphael said to Tobit: I was sent to test your faith (see Tobit 12,18. The exact words were: „I was not acting out of any favor on my part, but by God’s will “). So, God sent Raphael to test Tobit’s faith.

The second purpose is for questioning man’s heart, to see what is in it.

The third one is to purify man. In the Book of Wisdom, we read: God had tried the righteous „and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them.(Wisdom 3,5b-6a), said Fr. Stanko in his reflection and explained how God even in the desert tests His people, but explains us that those trials were for our good.

‘’Psalm 139 (138), 23-24 says: „Probe me, God, know my heart, try me, know my thoughts: See if there is a wicked path in me, lead me along the ancient path!” All of the prophets were tested too. When we are tested, the most important is to remain faithful to God, for He knows how I feel. He is the one who gave me this test, if I remain faithful, my reward shall be immense’’, said Fr. Stanko in this Lenten reflection also referring to Jesus’ trial in the Garden of Gethsemane, that is very particular, more than any other.

With Jesus, at the same time we have trial and temptations. The Holy Spirit takes Him to the desert where he would be hungry and thirsty for 40 days. Satan comes to him when He was so weak, when it was so hard for Him. If we do not fast and do not pray and if we do not spend time with God, we would not be able to resist. Jesus went to the desert, he passed through trials and temptations, not because He needed that, but He wanted to show us the way’’, said Fr. Stanko, who concluded his reflection with a message for us all: ‘’If we do not increase prayer, fasting, reading of the Holy Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, we would not be able to resist satan temptations or endure trials. When satan said to Jesus to multiply bread, or something else, Jesus responded to all three temptations by quoting the Scripture– Moses, Law and Prophets – as those words were carved in His heart. He was able to know those words because he spent time with God and His Word. If we do not read the Scripture, if we do not fast and do not pray, when trials come, we would not have the word we need, the word of the Holy Spirit’’.

The Lenten reflections are broadcasted each Wednesday on our media networks after the evening prayer programme, and this week’s reflection of Fr. Stanko Mabić on trials and temptations is available HERE