Short Catholic Homilies: Temptation
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In this short Catholic Homily we learn why God allows us to be tempted, and the value of steadfastly resisting it. To overcome temptations does only increases our virtue, but wins for us jewels in our crowns for the kingdom of heaven.
Let one be tempted by impure thoughts for a day, and faithfully resist them; in that day he will perhaps have done more to please God and obtain merit and glory in heaven than in a year of ordinary life.
However we must not voluntarily put ourselves into temptation, because it would be presumption to assume God would give us the grace to resist the evil.
The Full Text of Short Catholic Homily: Temptation
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him.” ST. JAMES 1:12
These words, my dear brethren, are from the Scripture read in the Divine Office for today. They also, and very appropriately, have a prominent place in the Office read on the feasts of martyrs through the year.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation.” “Yes,” you may say, ” certainly, if a man does endure and resist temptation, it is a good thing, and one for which he has reason to be thankful; but for my part, I would rather get along without being tempted.” This is a thought which is very likely to occur to those who are in earnest about saving their souls, and are therefore afraid that they may give way to temptation, commit mortal sin, and be lost. They are inclined to envy others who seem to have a good and innocent natural disposition, and sometimes they may, perhaps, wish that they themselves had died in their baptismal innocence, before temptation and sin were possible.
Now this wish is not altogether wrong; it is certainly pleasing to God for us to desire that it might be impossible to offend him, and that our own salvation might be made secure. But it is a mistake, when he does allow temptation to come on us without our fault, to think that it would be better for us if he had not done so.
It is a mistake, and why? Because far the greater part of us cannot acquire supernatural virtue in any high degree, give much glory to God, or be entitled to much reward at his hands, without a good deal of temptation. If it would please God to infuse all the virtues into our souls without any trouble or labor on our part, it might indeed be very well; but this he is not bound to do, and generally he does not choose to do it. He prefers that we should obtain our virtues partly by our own exertions. And as we will not pray or meditate, do penance or mortify ourselves enough to accomplish this end, there is no way to make any virtue strong and hardy in us except by forcing us to oppose its contrary vice. It is quite easy to seem very pleasant and good-natured when one has no crosses or provocations; but let a sharp or insulting word be said, and it will soon be seen how much real patience there is in this seeming good-humor; perhaps passion will flame out all the more violently for being long in repose. But if one’s patience is often tried, and stands the test by means of our own earnest struggles, it will be come after a time something which we can really count on.
This, then, is one good in temptation, that it makes our virtue really strong and solid for future use. But another value of it is to enable us to make acts at the very moment which will have an eternal reward and merit, and which we should never make were we let alone. Let one be tempted by impure thoughts for a day, and faithfully resist them; in that day he will perhaps have done more to please God and obtain merit and glory in heaven than in a year of ordinary life.
So if temptation comes without our own fault, we may indeed rejoice and count ourselves blessed, as St. James says; for it is indeed an earnest of the crown of life which our tried and strengthened souls shall win, and which shall be decked with the in numerable gems which our battles with sin have merited. But let us not allow it to come by our fault, for then we cannot hope for a blessing with it. “Lead us not into temptation,” we say everyday; profitable as the contest may be to us, it would be presumption to offer ourselves to it, or to ask from God an opportunity for it. Let us wait till he chooses to call us to the strife, and then thank him for the trial which shall give us, with his help, the crown of life which he has promised to those who love him, and for his love hate and resist sin.
Sources and Credits
An Excerpt From :
Priests of the Congregation of St. Paul. Five Minute Sermons for Low Masses on All Sundays of the Year. Vol. 2. [S.l.]: Catholic Publication Society, 1886. Print. starts pg 248-250
Music used under attribution license
Gloria in Excelsis Deo: Missa Victimae Paschali Laudes to The Tudor Consort
Image edited from an Image in the Public domain.
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