“By the words of the Gospel may our sins be blotted out” – Roman Missal, 1962.
“Blessed is he who endures under trials. When he has proved his worth, he will win that crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Nobody, when he finds himself tempted, should say, I am being tempted by God. God may threaten us with evil, but he does not himself tempt anyone. No, when a man is tempted, it is always because he is being drawn away by the lure of his own passions. When that has come about, passion conceives and gives birth to sin; and when sin has reached its full growth, it breeds death” – James 1:12-15
How often do we hear from society ‘You only live once, do what thalt wilt.” Or ‘If sin exists, God will understand that it’s too hard for me to stop sinning’. Since these are very misleading statements made by the average person who does not embrace the Holy Catholic Faith, the very teachings of Our Lord, how are we as disciples of Christ to view such erroneous opinions? Is it true that, due to our fallen nature as a result of original sin, temptations are too hard to overcome? Absolutely not since Our Beloved King, Jesus Christ, will give us the graces we need in order to combat the works of the Devil. However, it is by our fallen nature, due to the disobedience of our first parents: Adam and Eve that we are attached to sin which can later result into giving into temptation. ‘How do we overcome temptations and sin’ one may ask. Saint Alphonsus Liguori states the following:
“To resist temptation, it is sufficient to pronounce the names of Jesus and Mary; and if the temptation continues, let us continue to invoke Jesus and Mary; and the devil shall never be able to conquer us”.
It was by fasting and prayer that the devil has fled, for the names of Jesus and Mary bring Satan much fear. Since Satan is constantly at work and desires to lead us to Hell for all eternity by tempting us to rebel against God’s Commandments, we must, therefore, revoke Satan by reminding him about the Master who is in charge of our souls. “Then Jesus said to him “Away with thee, Satan, it is written: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Serve none but Him”. It was by these powerful and infallible words of Christ the King that “Then the devil left Him alone; and thereupon angels came and ministered to Him (Christ)”. Thus, have confidence in The Lord and do not let Satan scare you, for Christ’s works of Grace and Mercy will forever conquer over the evils of temptations. “Don’t let temptations frighten you”.(Padre Pio)
“The faithful should also reflect who their leader against the temptations of the enemy is; namely, Christ the Lord, who was victorious in the same combat. He overcame the devil; He is that stronger man who, coming upon the strong armed man, overcame him, deprived him of his arms, and stripped him of his spoils. Of Christ’s victory over the world, we read in St. John: Have confidence: I have overcome the world; and in the Apocalypse, He is called the conquering lion; and it is said of Him that He went forth conquering that He might conquer, because by His victory He has given power to others to conquer”. (Catechism of Trent)
In times of temptation, my brothers and sisters “Our Lord is there quite close to us, looking on us with kindness, smiling at us and saying ‘So, you do love me!’”. (Saint John Vianney)
In times of temptation we must not be slothful, for “Satan, however, is overcome not by indolence, sleep, wine, revelling, or lust; but by prayer, labor, watching, fasting, continence and chastity. Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not into temptation, as we have already said, is the admonition of our Lord. They who make use of these weapons in the conflict put the enemy to flight; for the devil flees from those who resist him.” (Council of Trent)
Are some temptations more effective and powerful than others? Indeed, however, we must not give into them. We must constantly meditate upon the four last things: death, judgement, Heaven, and Hell. Are a few moments of pleasure in sin worth an eternity in Hell? “Objectively you are damned, subjectively you might be saved” – Father Gregory Heese.
Let us continue to follow the Lord, Jesus Christ, for the love of His Sacred Heart, and may we take the words “And lead us not into temptation” literally and seriously out of love for Him.