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)