And the devil led him into a high mountain and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And he said to him: To thee will I give all this power and the glory of them. For to me they are delivered: and to whom I will, I give them. If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.
And Jesus answering said to him: It is written: Thou shalt adore the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?
Powerlust. Not a real word, but one I coined as I could find no singular word sufficient to express the concept. Powerlust: To be enticed, seduced by the power, wealth, and pleasure this world offers. This is one of Jesus’ temptations in the desert. The interesting thing about this temptation is that it does not require Satan. The objects themselves become Satan. They call. They cajole. They invite. They seduce. Once one awakens to them, once one submits oneself to surrendering one’s self to them, one finds that a principle of spiritual economics takes over. To dominate, one must serve. To master, one must become slave. We see this with Satan in his false promises with which he wins ambitious souls. When Satan delivers powers or objects into the hands of a man, the man rushes to enslave himself to that objects and the man is lost. The man gains domination of a fleeting cloud of smoke, and Satan wins mastery of the man’s eternal soul. Satan has no desire for that soul. In fact, Satan hates and despises the man. Satan’s only objective is to deny that man to God, and since Satan has no power over the man lest the man give him power, a deal is made. Satan offers what is transitory to the man for that which is eternal in the man. Man cannot serve to masters. Man cannot serve his own ambition and still worship God.
What is most interesting, even that which Satan offers is not in his power. Satan gives a false permission to the man to seek it at all cost, but this makes no difference the man trades his soul. Although the victory of the man in obtaining his desire may well be due to the single mindedness and industry of the man, Satan has no compunction about collecting the wage he did not earn, after all, was it not the man’s foolishly placed trust in Satan that gave him the confidence to achieve his goal? Perhaps Satan did not really understand who Jesus really was, perhaps he did. One thing is certain. Satan would have sensed the power of Jesus. Satan would have known that Jesus of His own ability could take control of all the kingdoms of the temporal world, but to do so Jesus must deny the Will of the Father and pursue His own ambition. Success or failure matter not, it is the very act of rejecting the Will of the Father that leads to damnation. Maybe Satan, in his greed and self-aggrandizement failed to grasp the simple idea that Jesus did not come to conquer kingdoms but to build the Kingdom of God.
I think it important to mention here that although Satan does not always play a part in the fall of man, Satan is real. Very real. It is not a game. It is not a joke. Satan is a suggester. His knows a mans weakness and plants a seed, but man’s weakness waters it, his ambition makes it grow, and at last he eats of the fruit the serpent offered him. Man feels self-determined, self-sufficient, self-actualized, self-reliant. Man is no longer a servant, he has become master of his life. Like Satan, the thought that feels to be an epiphany, becomes finally the statement, “I will not serve.”
Contrast this approach with the Beautiful and Blessed Virgin Mary, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word.” God determines her, God suffices for her. God actualizes her. God is all on which she depend accepting from Him whatever his Will demands. This she does with love for and in love with God. God loves her and blesses her beyond all women. Sweet Mary is filled with Gods Grace, such a tiny vessel under the waterfall of God’s love she overflows into the world subduing it with her humble and simple “yes,” and in that moment, in that word the Redeemer of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ takes flesh, Mary’s flesh. Jesus takes blood, Mary’s blood. She is the sacrifice foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice. Before the Holy Communion in which Jesus gives us His Body, the Living Bread, and His Precious Blood, the wine of the New Covenant; Mary, upon His request, offered to Him her body and blood. We are called to the same sacrifice as Mary (albeit in a much smaller way), we are called to let Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, take flesh once again in us. All the we need do, like Gentle Mary, is to simply say, “yes.” Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
God’s Will is to build His Kingdom on Earth. This is as true for man as it was for Jesus. We are all called to build the Kingdom of God. We have no army, but we have been given the most powerful, irresistible, overwhelming force if we dare wield it; we have been given Love, and to help you understand just how powerful that force is, Saint John in his epistle tells us: GOD IS LOVE.