Thursday, 22 September 2011

Are you tempted?

It is not, of course, a sin to be tempted but it could be a sin if we yield to our temptations depending upon what form they take.
It would also be a sin to dally in the shop window of temptation - the occasion of sin!
No, dear they are not halos!

Remember that Our Lord was tempted in the desert and remember also, who it was that tempted him, it is the self same devil that tempts us.
The trials of temptation should, according to Thomas a Kempis, be used against the devil. How? By offering our torments, (for such they can be) as an act of penance. That is not to say that we should wallow in temptation but that we should regard it as one might regard a disease or illness.

"Bear it and offer it up" was the mantra learnt at my Mother's knee and it's not a bad one to abide by although, a scraped knee is perhaps easier to bear than a fixation on drugs, detraction, food, gambling, pornography or alcohol (or doughnuts).

By accepting the sacrifice of temptation we turn the fire back on the enemy; we make the torture bearable, even, in a spiritual sense, enjoyable -
 "Bring it on - nothing can hurt me, God is my Father" goes the cry.

                                          On resisting temptation
                                           by Thomas a Kempis

As long as we are in this world we shall always have to face trials and temptations. As it says in the Book of Job - "What is man's life on earth but a time of temptation?"
That is why we should treat our temptations as a serious matter and endeavour by vigilance and prayer to keep the devil from finding any loophole. Remember that the devil never sleeps, but goes about looking for his prey.
There is no one so perfect or holy that they never meet temptation; we cannot escape it altogether.

Yet temptations often bring great benefits, even if they are disagreeable and a great burden; for in temptation a man is humbled, purified and disciplined.
All the saints passed through many trials and temptations, and that was how they made spiritual progress, while those who could not stand up to temptation fell away and lost their salvation.

However holy a religious order may be, however remote a place, temptations and difficulties will still be found there.
Man is not entirely safe from temptation as long as he is alive, because the source of temptation lies within us - we are born in concupiscence.
When one trial or temptation leaves us, another takes its place, and we will always have something to endure, because we have lost the blessing of human happiness.

Many people try to run away from temptation and all they do is fall more heavily. We cannot be victorious if we only run away, but patience and true humility will give us strength to defeat every enemy.
A man will not make much progress if he rejects the actual temptation but fails to root out its actual cause. The temptation will soon come back and he will suffer worse.

It is by slow degrees, by patience and long suffering with the help of God that you will win the victory, not by harshness and impatience.
When you are tempted, seek guidance often from others; and do not yourself deal harshly with someone else who is tempted, but comfort him as you would wish to be comforted yourself....

...For this reason we should not despair when tempted, but beseech God all the more fervently, to aid us in His mercy in every kind of distress; for, as St Paul says:

"With the temptation itself, He will ordain the issue of it, and enable you to hold your own"

...Trials and tribulations test what progress a man has made; it is there that merit is found, and virtue better revealed.
It is no great thing for a man to feel fervour and devotion to God when he is not troubled; but if he patiently maintains his spiritual state in a time of adversity, then there is hope of great progress.

And do not forget, either, your Guardian Angel:

O my good Angel whom God hath appointed to be my Guardian.
Enlighten and protect, direct and govern me this day/night and for evermore.


  1. You raise so many points which we could debate ad infinitum.

    One is tempted to ask whether God allows temptation so that we fight to resist it. A sort of physical/mental/spiritual exercise to strengthen us and build our character. And those poor souls who give in to temptation, perhaps too often, because of their weakness of will end up in the other place instead of Heaven.

    If this is so, then one is led to ask further why should a loving God allow His creations to undergo such torments in the first place.

    God bless.

  2. "If this is so, then one is led to ask further why should a loving God allow His creations to undergo such torments in the first place."

    God is good and anything he allows is for our good. when He stops allowing it, it's because it is that death is the only way for healing to happen. If a person gets well and lives, after addiction, he has a job to do, an amend to make. God has no favourites. it's not a lottery.
    Novenas help such souls. Tangibly, one can feel the prayers of others. Prayer always works, it's good footwork. We lose faith when we demand immediate outcomes. The outcome of prayer(or ALL things working to good) may only be seen at the end of this world.

  3. "...because of their weakness of will end up in the other place instead of Heaven"

    Take heart! God never tries us beyond our strength. We succumb because we choose to give up and never because it was beyond our ability to resist.

  4. My two young adults at home found a free offer of the new Krispi Kreeme doughnuts (on line) so they charged out to intercept them in the High St.
    They returned real cheerful with a box of twelve each!!
    I kindly releaved them of one each over two days leaving them to struggle with 11 each. Ha ha ha! They won't be eating those again in long while.
    I noticed in a Supermarket they charge £1.20 each doughnut.

  5. Victor - it was Thomas a Kempis who aired the main points, not me. God bless.

    Momangelica - you can feel your arteries harden as you eat those things.

    Thanks Ros and RSF.

  6. It's the slow degrees that we flawed souls (me) find so difficult. But that which the Catholic Church knows so well.