First Sunday of Lent
Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk
9th March 2014
Taken from Fr. Goffine's The Church's Year
What is a temptation?
A temptation is either a trial for instruction and exercise
in virtue, or a deception and incitement to sin. In the
first sense, God tempts man; in the second, he is tempted by
the devil, the world or bad people, and the flesh, by evil
thoughts, feelings, words, or work.
Are temptations pernicious and bad?
No; they are useful and necessary, rather. "Hard is the
fight," St. Bernard writes, "but meritorious, for although
it is accompanied by suffering, it is followed by the
crown;" Origen says. (Libr. Num.) "As meat becomes corrupt
without salt, so does the soul without temptations."
Temptations, then, are only injurious when consent is given,
and we suffer ourselves to be overcome by them.
When do we consent to temptations?
When we knowingly and willingly decide to do the evil to
which we are tempted; as long as we resist we commit no sin.
What are the best means of overcoming temptations?
Humility; for thus answered St. Anthony, when he saw the
whole earth covered with snares, and was asked "Who will
escape?" "The humble;" he who knows his own frailty,
distrusts himself, and relies only on God who resists the
proud and gives His grace to the humble; (Dam. IV. 6.) the
fervent invocation of the Mother of God, of our holy
guardian angels and patron saints; the pronouncing of the
holy name of Jesus, making the sign of the cross, sprinkling
holy water; the remembrance of the presence of God who knows
our most secret thoughts, and before whom we are indeed
ashamed to think or do that which would cause us shame in
the presence of an honourable person; frequent meditation on
death, hell, and eternal joys; fleeing from
all those persons by whom, and places in which we are
generally tempted; fervent prayers, especially ejaculations,
as: - "Lord, save me, lest I perish! Lord, hasten to help
me!" finally, the sincere acknowledgment of our temptations
at the tribunal of penance, which is a remedy especially
recommended by pious spiritual teachers.
'Lord grant me not so much to be delivered from temptation,
but rather always to be found faithful!'