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St. Alphonsus on temptation April 11, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Interior Life, North Deanery, priests, religious, Saints, Tradition, Virtue.

The Moral Doctor is full of gold:

Certainly we should strive to avoid temptations; but if God wishes that we be tempted against faith, purity, or any other virtue, we should not give in to discouraging lamentations, but submit ourselves with resignation to God’s Holy Will. St. Paul asked to be freed from temptations to imurity and our Lord answered him, saying: “My Grace is sufficient for thee.” (2 Cor 12:9)

So should we act when we find ourselves victims of unrelenting temptations and God seemingly deaf to our prayers. Let us then say: “Lord, do with me, let happen to me what thou wilt; thy Grace is sufficient for me. Only never let me lose this grace.” Consent to temptation, not temptation of itself, can make us lose the Grace of God. Temptation resisted keeps us humble, brings us greater merit, makes us have frequent recourse to God, thus preserving us from offending Him and uniting use more closely to Him in the bonds of His Holy Love.

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I have asked God to take temptations, or weaknesses or attachments, away from me.  He has sent me great aid at times through the intercession of the Saints, but at other times He has seen fit to keep me struggling, if you will.  And there is great temptation to wonder why that is, and, for a person like me, to try to do more myself to try to overcome whatever the problem is.  I must learn to simply offer these things to God and pray that He will at some point relieve me of them, if that be His Will.  To try to overcome our faults by purely human means – especially our most profound problems – is a recipe for spiritual calamity. 

It’s very easy to have recourse to pride, to think that because we go to Mass frequently or read and pray a great deal or meditate constantly to think we are somehow working our way to Heaven.  God does want our works, he demands cooperation with Grace in order to achieve salvation, but even the ability to do those works are His Gift and ultimately we are totally dependent on Grace to achieve any kind of spiritual progress.  God makes Grace available, and expects souls to cooperate with that Grace, but we can’t then think we’ve done something great – all we’ve done is our barest duty.  But many souls fall into the trap of thinking if they just do a little bit more, they’ll be assured salvation. 

And, in the meantime, they could be missing some great imperfection or even sin in their life, because they are so focused on what they are doing.  It’s a danger for all those souls striving to please God and grow in the life of Grace. 

Having temptations, or remaining imperfections, should not be a source of embarassment or, God forbid, resentment, but should serve to remind the soul that whatever progress they have made in the spiritual life is the work of God and not of themselves.  The soul should then accept these difficulties as they are, and continue to pray that God’s Will may be done.  Humble trust in God is the way forward for all souls striving to please Him.  He Wills what is best for us – if we trust in that, we shall be as safe as Jesus in Mary’s arms.

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