Temptations are always with us but so is God’s help to overcome them

By Wilmer L. Todd

Temptations are part of everyone’s life. How we deal with temptations is so important. The following are quotes on temptations from some great spiritual writers.

St. Anthony of the Desert (251-356) lives to be 104 years old. He warns that temptations never go away. “This is the great work of human beings: always to take the blame for their own sins before God and to expect temptation to their last breath.”

St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) distinguishes temptation and sin. “Temptation to a certain sin, to any sin whatever, might last throughout our life, yet it can never make us displeasing to God’s Majesty provided we do not take pleasure in it and consent to it. You must have great courage in the midst of temptation. Never think yourself overcome if they are displeasing to you, keeping clearly in mind the difference between feeling temptation and consenting to it.”

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) tells us what to do when we are tempted. “When an evil thought is presented to the mind, we must immediately try to turn our thoughts to God or to something that is indifferent. Yet the first rule is, instantly to invoke the names of Jesus and Mary and to continue to invoke them until the temptation ceases. Those who trust in themselves are lost. Those who trust in God can do all.”

‘There is nothing more dangerous than to confide in our own strength, and trust to feelings of fervor. We are full of malice, and could commit the most enormous crimes, unless God supports us.”

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) says, “Joy is one of the best safeguards against temptation. The devil is a carrier of dust and dirt and he uses every opportunity to throw what he has at us. Yet a joyful heart protects us from this dirt. That is because Jesus is there in our joy. Jesus takes full possession of our soul when we surrender to him joyfully. St. Francis de Sales said, ‘A sad saint is a bad saint.’ St. Teresa of Avila worried about her sisters only when she saw them lose their joy. Joy is a source of power for us.”

Finally Pope Francis tells us, “We are invited to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and face the spiritual battle with the Evil One with the strength of the Word of God. Not with our words: they are worthless. The Word of God: this has the strength to defeat Satan. Therefore, being familiar with the Bible is important: read it often, meditate on it, assimilate it. The Bible contains the Word of God, which is always timely and effective.

“If we had God’s Word always in our heart, no temptation could separate us from God, and no obstacle could divert us from the path of good; we would know how to defeat the daily temptations of the evil that is within us and outside us; we could live a life renewed according to the Spirit, welcoming and loving our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and neediest, and also our enemies.”

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