In Greek mythology the sirens are creatures with the heads of beautiful women and the bodies of attractive birds. They lived on an island (Sirenum scopuli; three small rocky islands) and with the irresistible charm of their song they lured mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrounding their island (Virgil V, 846; Ovid XIV, 88). They sang so sweetly that all who sailed near their home in the sea were fascinated and drawn to the shore only to be destroyed.
When Odysseus, the hero in the Odyssey, passed that enchanted spot he tied himself to the mast and put wax in the ears of his comrades, so that they might not hear the luring and bewitching strains.
But King Tharsius chose a better way. He took the great Greek singer and lyrist Orpheus along with him. Orpheus took out his lyre and sang a song so clear and ringing that it drowned the sound of those lovely, fatal voices of sirens.
The best way to break the charm of this world’s alluring voices during Lent is not trying to shut out the music by plugging our ears, but to have our hearts and lives filled with the sweeter music of prayer, penance, word of God, self control, and acts of charity. Then temptations will have no power over us.
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