Purposely, Satan’s temptations begin with the phrase “If you are the Son of God…” At the river Jordan Jesus heard just that, for He is the Father’s beloved son.  The grace of our own baptism is to grow in our belief that we also are God’s beloved. But temptations twist what it means to be God’s beloved.  It’s not an exception from hard work. (“Command these stones become bread…”) Nor is it an assurance of protection from all harm.  (“Lest you dash your foot against a stone…”) It is not a ticket to status and privilege.  (“All these I shall give to you…”)  Baptism is communion with our crucified-risen Lord, the ultimate reassurance of God’s eternal love for us. Still, in the face of deep suffering, even the strongest can doubt that love. Where are we most vulnerable to spiritual attack? It is there that we need to pray for divine protection.

—J. Michael Sparough, S.J. is a Retreat Master and Spiritual Director at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House outside Chicago. He blogs weekly at heartoheart.orgClick to watch a video of this reflection.