Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Cleaving to God: Part 11 of 16

How one should resist temptations and bear trials

Now there is no one who approaches God with a true and upright heart
who is not tested by hardships and temptations. So in all these
temptations see to it that even if you feel them, you do not consent to
them, but bear them patiently and calmly with humility and long
suffering. Even if they are blasphemies and sordid, hold firmly on to
this fact in everything, that you can do nothing better or more
effective against them than to consider all this sort of fantasy as a
nothing. Even if they are the most vile, sordid and horrible
blasphemies, simply take no notice of them, count them as nothing and
despise them. Don't look on them as yours or allow yourself to make
them a matter of conscience. The enemy will certainly take flight if
you treat him and his company with contempt in this way. He is very
proud and cannot bear to be despised and spurned. So the best remedy is
to completely ignore all such temptations, like flies flying around in
front of your eyes against your will. The servant of Jesus Christ must
see to it that he is not so easily forced to withdraw from the face of
the Lord and to be annoyed, murmur and complain over the nuisance of a
single fly, that is, a trivial temptation, suspicion, sadness,
distraction, need or any such adversity, when they can all be put to
flight with no more than the hand of a good will directed up to God.
After all, through a good will a man has God as his defender, and the
holy angels as his guardians and protectors. What is more, any
temptation can be overcome by a good will too, like a fly driven away
from a bald head by one's hand. So peace is for men of good will.
Indeed we can offer God nothing more valuable than a good will, since a
good will in the soul is the source of all good things, and the mother
of all virtues. If any one is beginning to possess that good will, he
undoubtedly has what is necessary for leading a good life. For if you
want what is good, but cannot do it, God will make good the deed. For
it is in accordance with this eternal law that God has established with
irrevocable firmness that deserts should be a matter of the will,
whether in bliss or torment, reward or punishment. Love itself is a
great will to serve God, a sweet desire to please God, and a fervent
wish to experience God. What is more, to be tempted is not a sin, but
the opportunity for exercising virtue, so that temptation can be
greatly to a man's benefit, since it is held that the whole of a man's
life on earth is a testing. (Job 7.1)

Link here to read more of this little book from St. Albert of Jerusalem

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