An Arsenal for Overcoming Temptation (Part 2)

7. “I am too weak to be a saint.”

“And what might appear astonishing, but is however very true, is that our miseries entitle us to God’s mercy.” – Bl. Dom Columba Marmion

As Jesus revealed to Sr. Consolata Betrone, the weaker we are, the more right we have to count on God’s strength. Some of the greatest saints and mystics were chosen by God precisely because they were weak! St. Margaret Mary, Sr. Josefa Menendez and St. Faustina, for example, were each chosen by God so that God might demonstrate through them that he desires love and humility, rather than strength or even perfection. Sr. Josefa said that it matters very little how much progress we make in the spiritual life, provided that we persevere. Little Therese of Lisieux reminds us that even Jesus fell three times under the weight of the Cross, so we should not be surprised when we fall. Instead, we should humble ourselves and consider ourselves lucky that we have a “ticket” (our weakness) to God’s arms.

8. “I fear the uncertainty of salvation.”

“Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ.” (CCC #1023)

“Perfect charity casteth out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

Salvation is morally assured. We have an infallible promise from God that whoever dies in a state of grace- which is offered to all through prayer and the holy Sacraments- is saved. The more we love God, the more we will be delivered- and seek to be delivered- from our sinful habits. A very clear sign of God’s grace is the sincere desire to love Him and do everything for love of Him.

The more we meditate on God’s immense love for us, the more we will grow in confidence that our salvation is a gift that God wants to give us, and which we can be sure to attain if we seek to love God above all else. Jesus revealed to Sr. Consolata Betrone that souls such as these (who long to love God above all else) are given Heaven not only out of God’s mercy, but out of His justice! Why? On one level, it is because God is true to His promises.

Let’s not forget that Jesus died for us in order to save us. He does not desire the death of the wicked. Our confidence in God should ALWAYS be based upon His nature, not ours; God is unchanging love, mercy and truth. We can never exhaust or fathom God’s love:

“I love men so much! … I love poor sinners so much!” – Jesus to Sr. Benigna Consolata Ferrero

“To give God a chance to exercise His mercy by our repentance and confidence causes Him joy. Nothing wounds His Heart so much as a lack of trust.” (p. 199).-Bl. Dina Belanger

*The best response to this temptation is blind trust, because ultimately, it is Jesus who saves us, and His action within our soul is hindered by our distrust. It is when we remain united to Him and trust in Him, that He is able to fulfil His great plans for us. If you struggle with fears about your salvation (all of which are in vain), may I suggest reading prayerfully some of my earlier posts about God’s love and mercy? Furthermore, read a good spiritual book, such as ‘Love, Peace and Joy’ by Andre Prevot, ‘Jesus Appeals to the World’ by Fr. Lorenzo Sales, or ‘Consoling the Heart of Jesus’ by Fr. Michael Gaitley.

9. “I struggle constantly with the same sin.”

“Without Me you can do nothing.” – Jesus

We cannot overcome sin by ourselves. We must humble ourselves and have recourse to God immediately in every temptation. This pleases God. We can be sure that God will reward our perseverance with eventual success, keeping in mind that “Love is sanctity” (Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone). God values humility (a necessary virtue for our salvation*) so highly that we will often struggle with a particular sin until we have learnt humility.

For how to overcome particular temptations, I suggest reading the book ‘Voice of the Saints’ by Francis W. Johnston. The saints tell us, for example, that in order to overcome impurity, we MUST ask God for this grace, and we must fast. St. Philip Neri says the following (not found in the book, however):

“Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Blessed Virgin are not simply the best way, but in fact the only way to keep purity. At the age of twenty, nothing but Communion can keep one’s heart pure . . . Chastity is not possible without the Eucharist.”
– St. Philip Neri

* At least, insofar as it is necessary to acknowledge our unworthiness before God and therefore ask for His mercy.

God bless you!