"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"

Thomas á Kempis

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "

Thomas á Kempis

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"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."

St Philip Neri

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St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) -  Bishop and Doctor of the Universal Church

 

INTRODUCTION TO A DEVOUT LIFE (cont)

 

by St Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church

PART IV. Containing needful counsels concerning some ordinary temptations.
 

5. Encouragement for the Tempted Soul. 

 
God never permits such grievous temptations and assaults to try any, save those souls whom He designs to lead on to His own living, highest love, but nevertheless it does not follow as a natural consequence that they are certain to attain thereto.

Indeed, it has often happened that those who had been stedfast under violent assaults, failing to correspond faithfully to Divine Grace, have yielded under the pressure of very trifling temptations.

I would warn you of this, my child, so that, should you ever be tried by great temptations, you may know that God is showing special favour to you, thereby proving that He means to exalt you in His Sight; but that at the same time you may ever be humble and full of holy fear, not overconfident in your power to resist lesser temptations because you have overcome those that were greater, unless by means of a most stedfast faithfulness to God.

Come what may in the shape of temptation, attended by whatsoever of delectation,--so long as your will refuses consent, not merely to the temptation itself, but also to the delectation, you need have no fear,--God is not offended. When any one has swooned away, and gives no sign of life, we put our hand to his heart, and if we find the slightest fluttering there, we conclude that he still lives, and that, with the help of stimulants and counter-irritants, we may restore consciousness and power. Even so, sometimes amid the violence of temptation the soul seems altogether to faint away, and to lose all spiritual life and action.

But if you would be sure how it really is, put your hand on the heart. See whether heart and will yet have any spiritual motion; that is to say, whether they fulfil their own special duty in refusing consent to and acceptance of temptation and its gratification; for so long as the power to refuse exists within the soul, we may be sure that Love, the life of the soul, is there, and that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, is within, although, it may be, hidden; and that by means of stedfast perseverance in prayer, and the Sacraments, and confidence in God, strength will be restored, and the soul will live with a full and joyous life.