Kathy Bernard - Publisher
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
the wiles of the devil."
is an old Zen story about two monks who
were walking together down an old road.
Soon they arrived at a river which crossed
their path, and there a beautiful young woman approached them.
She greeted the two monks politely and requested their help in
crossing. She told them of her need to get to the other side of the
river, and then went on to explain that crossing by herself would
certainly wet and ruin her lovely clothes. At
this, the first monk smiled pleasantly, and honored her request by
carefully picking her up to protect her clothes. He carried
the pretty young girl across the river on his shoulders and set her
down on the other side. Afterward, she shyly thanked him,
seemly overwhelmed by his kind act. The second monk was not
too pleased because traditionally this could be construed as an
improper enticement. The two monks bid the woman farewell and
continued along their way.
After a good
way down the road, the second monk thoughtfully turned to the
first, with an angry expression upon his face. He could hold his
tongue no longer. "How could you give in to temptation like that and
carry that girl across the river? Why did you allow this?"
this, the first monk looked surprised but replied without
hesitation, "My dear brother, I left that nice young woman back
there at the river crossing. Why are YOU still carrying her?"
to all of us. Sadly no one escapes it. Satan knows each of us well
enough to present the very desires of our hearts. He puts it in
our paths. It is an allure, a desire, and an enticement to take the
mantle Satan has carefully crafted which becomes sinful if we
accept it. It may be the things we want to possess or the drive to
possess them, the lure of sex, or the pleasure or satisfaction that
might make us place extraordinary value on ourselves by being
boastful or prideful. "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil
desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has
conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown,
gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers, every
good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of
the heavenly lights, Who does not change like the shifting
shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that
we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created." -
James1:13-18. And so, we must be on watch and on guard for the
real culprit who is Satan, a master of trickery, one who knows our
weaknesses and preys on it. Benjamin Franklin quotes, "If
passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."
we recognize that we have moved away from the ordinary desires God
wants us to have, and it brings us to the level of self importance
and self needs and prideful ownership of things, this is the time
we must reflect and to pray and ask God
to strengthen our resolve to be moderate, avoiding Satan's tricks. No man is free
from enticements, but we must be keenly alert and watchful lest we fall into
Satan's trap of presenting it as something we desire and
long for. Above all, we must be vigilant and pray that our Father
may “lead us not into temptation” or allow us to be overcome by it
and “seek it with all our hearts. We must rely on His sufficient
grace to remain faithful without stepping
outside the boundaries He sets for us.
Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, (1895 - 1979),
explaining temptation tells us, "Behind
all evil is the object of temptation... a simple desire can turn
into temptation. And today it is necessary for us to realize this,
because we have started ignoring the negative effects of temptations
on the pretext of natural human character." Bishop Sheen received an Emmy award in 1952 as
the most outstanding male personality on television.
followed by two more series. He was also the author of numerous
books. He was familiar to the
U.S. public as a radio and television personality for more than
three decades. His program Catholic Hour ran on radio for 22 years,
beginning in 1930, and was succeeded on television by Life Is Worth
Living, which aired from 1952 to 1957. At his death he was one of the best-known
clerics in the U.S. See and hear Bishop Sheen as he outlines
and speaks on Temptation in Part I, 2, and 3:
Bishop Fulton Sheen On Temptation
See also his other TV videos in full color at that link.
Catholic Online defines temptation as "an incitement to sin whether by persuasion or
by the offer of some good or pleasure. It may be merely external, as
was the case of Christ's encounter in the desert after the forty
days' fast; or it may be internal as well, inasmuch as there is a
real assault upon a person's will power. It arises sometimes from
the propensity to evil inherent in us as a result of original sin. Sometimes it is directly chargeable to the intervention of the
Devil, who can furnish the imagination with its sinful
subject-matter and stir up the lower powers of the soul. Not
infrequently both causes are at work. Temptation is not in itself
sin. No matter how vivid the unholy image may be, no matter how
strong the inclination to transgress the law, no matter how vehement
the sensation of unlawful satisfaction, as long as there is no consent of the will, there is no sin."
Temptation - Catholic Encyclopedia -
At the Obsservatore Romano, August 20, 1986., Pope John Paul states, "The
influence of the evil one can conceal itself in a more profound and
effective way; it is in his interests to make himself 'unknown'.
Satan has the skill in the world to induce people to deny his
existence in the name of rationalism and of every other system of
thought which seeks all possible means to avoid recognizing his
Father Roger J. Landry, in an
article "Christ's Temptation And Ours", affirms "The devil exists and
he is real. He seeks to devour us. But Christ has overcome him and
we will, too, provided that we put on God's armor, discipline
ourselves as a disciple should, and remain vigilant". Father Roger
J. Landry was ordained a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Fall
River, Massachusetts by Bishop Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. in 1999.
To read more about Father Landry, visit his site at
Culture : Library : Christ's Temptations and Ours .
today's world, it is hard to resist temptation. Many of us even
justify our temptations saying, "I cannot help myself". We are
surrounded by the media, the pull of the Internet where we can go
all over the world to satisfy our depraved desires, places under the
guise of entertainment that feed temptation, with Satan
orchestrating and running rampart as he collects as many souls as he
can, victoriously watching his prey as they forget God's
commandments and plans for our lives. There is the temptation to
possess wealth, own fine clothes, fine cars and the like. To have
nice things is a human desire, but to make these earthly things
master of one's life places emphasis on the earthly and the
material, letting it consume our minds with objects that blinds our
paths to Almighty God. God wants us to feel good about ourselves and
to be proud of our hard work and our successes, but when it
becomes the focus of our existence, blotting out the humility God
wants us to have, we stop depending on God and depend on self.
We feel an importance that is not ours to feel, rather all that we
earn and succeed at comes from Him, including our talents and all that
once wrote, "The road to success is dotted with many tempting
parking places." Do not linger but continue to move forward with
God's strength and His Grace. God wants us to be strong and avoid
temptation even though society today clamors for a different
story, a different path which has no place in God's plan for us.
God wants us to fix our hearts and our desires on Him, in spite of
this frightening time in human history, in spite of the outcries of
the crowds at the gates of the modern world who seek to rewrite the
decrees of God.
we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and truth
isn't in our hearts. But if we confess our sins to God, He can
always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away."- 1John
1:8-9. Remember always that God's grace and love is eternal. We all
make mistakes but our Father offers us His forgiveness. A word
of caution: this does
not mean you should go into sin knowing that you can be forgiven,
for God knows your intent.
If you do sin through human weakness and feel sorrow, God's
always available to you.
Understand the allure which most tempts you, be alert and
control your impulses through recognition of possible sin and let
all temptation signal prayer to overcome Satan's wiles.