Kathy Bernard - Publisher


"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against
the wiles of the devil."  


There 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?"

To 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?" 

Temptation comes 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."

When 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.         

Roman 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.   This was 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 - Catholic Online 

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 activity." 

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  Catholic Culture : Library : Christ's Temptations and Ours .

In 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 we own. 

Someone 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.

"IF 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 mercy is 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.


God keeps his promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he
will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13



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