Temptation

Temptation is one of those constant obstacles that we must face and overcome throughout our entire life…

First of all, what exactly is temptation? It is the enticement by the devil to disorder our nature, and lead us away from God. The devil recognizes our desires for a good, and he makes an empty promise that evil will fill such a desire. It often provides an empty pleasure, but nothing more than that…and it slowly but surely makes it harder to give up that pleasure, however empty it is. As I wrote in my article Society…independence…God : “As our world seeks pleasure rather than the Source of pleasures, it is ruining itself. It seems as though we are picking the blossoms off of the tree, and then wondering why the tree never bears fruit! We grab things from the outside, taking momentary delight in them – and yet never seek the true source from whence it comes. Some seek money, some seek power, some seek bodily gratification, some seek comfort, some seek laziness, and all become slaves to pleasure.”

There are many kinds of temptations: but all are a denial to use our human nature and free will in the way that God wishes, and so we have to pay the consequences. When we do things against God’s natural plan for us, we become slaves to our nature, and further disordered. This is why it is so necessary to avoid and resist temptations! And we, personally, are not the only ones who “pay the consequences” … our actions have an effect on society as a whole. As humans, as societal beings – if we submit to becoming weaker, we are also submitting to the weakening of society. We have to remember that life and all it’s “features” are a gift, not a right. We must “obey the directions of the manufacturer”. For example, if someone gave you a lawn mower to use, you wouldn’t trim hedges with it…while it might cut the bushes, you are also more in danger of hurting yourself and anyone who is near – not to mention the probability of ruining the mower.

What are the “directions of the manufacturer”? The purpose of a lawn mower is to mow grass…what is our purpose? We are told in basic Catechism: “Why did God make us?” “God made us to know, love, and serve Him in this world, and be forever happy with Him in the next.” God is Love, and He loved us so much that He wants our love in return; He gave us the blessed ability to love Him in return. In knowing God, we love Him. And if we know and love Him, we will strive to serve Him according to His “plan in time” for our lives.

In order to truly enjoy natural pleasures, we need to use them in their correct context. The pleasure we receive from eating is ruined when we gorge ourselves; the purpose of eating is to sustain life, and so we feel sick if we eat too much. Sexual pleasure was made for the context of marriage, where man and woman are participants in God’s creativity through communal love; to use it out of that context may bring empty pleasure, but no more. Possesions are a “good” that God has given us – but it can be a means of our destruction if we become avaricious. And so on…

The more I think about temptation, the more I feel ill-qualified to write about it. There are many examples to look to in the lives of the saints: St. Augustine had to flee his former way of life in order to gain purity…St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Joseph Moscati had to overcome the temptation to discouragement…and the list goes on. Keep in mind that the saints are humans who have attained the crown of sanctity: they give us examples for our lives. We can find comfort in their weakness and strength! Comfort in their weakness – they also had temptations, failings, struggles, suffering; comfort in their strength of their love of God. Through love they were able to rise after each fall; without love (and without Love) it would be difficult…no, it would be impossible…to have risen to such union [with God]. Temptation is not a sin unless it has been willingly encouraged; sinning is the giving into temptation. And yet if we fail, we have a most merciful God who always wants to welcome us back and reconcile us to Himself and to His Church. We are all united in Christ, so when one person is weak, it affects the entire body; but as part of the same body, we can also draw from each other’s strength.

The road is long and hard, but “as long as we keep our face to the Light on the Cross, we will not see the shadows”. Avoid temptation, do not seek it! Keep your eyes focused on Christ, ever moving forward; and that faith and trust will lead you through. May God give us strength!

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Here is part of a sermon by St. Francis De Sales: Temptation . I strongly suggest that you read it, there are many things that he explains so much better than I. 🙂

United in Christ,
Lisa

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3 thoughts on “Temptation

  1. Migue says:

    All this post makes me breave to fight with templations and also help friend to not lose hope to find the real pleasure in the source of all good things.. GOD.
    God bless you Lisa
    Miguel

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Lisa! 🙂

    That is so beautiful and encourging.

    Mary Agnes

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Lisa!!!

    That is so very true.

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