Friday, January 3, 2014

How does temptation manifest itself?

Excellent post HERE.

There is no way to distinguish temptations of demonic origin from those that come from within us. Demons tempt us by infusing thoughts in our minds. In other words, a demon introduces into our reason, memory, and imagination intellectual objects proper to our understanding that cannot be distinguished from our own thoughts, such as the image of a tree, a memory, or a word. But an angel can also produce such ideas and communicate them to our minds. This is why there is no way to distinguish what comes from us, an angel, a demon, or God directly.

The less you discipline your thoughts towards the angelic and divine, the more rope you give to the demons.

I thought about the demons yesterday when reading an old story circulated about "athiest" Rachel Maddow. She apparently revealed she suffers from existential emptiness and depression. She cut herself loose from God to run on her own power, journeyed into herself and found she is empty. She's been there since she was 12.

Are you you kidding me?

Every one of us follows the pied piper of thoughts that tell us we are more capable of judging right and wrong than God Himself. At least in some way.

But to wallow all alone in the misery of you for THAT long takes some constitution.

Get over yourself lady.

Practicing Catholics have it made. We stay as close as possible to His Living Body which writes His laws in a book for us. We have the Sacraments which reward our surrender and remorse when we fall off the wagon. We have access to Christ's Body and Blood with the properties of His Divinity for enlightenment and strength. The precious gift of His Mystical Body gives the demons very little rope to drag us away.

Still, disciplining thoughts requires the recognition that our intellect is not the only force introducing thoughts into our reason, memory and imagination. It requires attention to the devil's playground - our emotions. Emotions are the fuel for our actions - our happiness, our misery, our anger. You are what you think.

The discipline of this process doesn't just require the recognition of your own intellect, thoughts and emotions.

Just when you think you have a handle on that comes the hard part. Disciplining in the interactions and dramas of every person you love, meet, work with and in your work as an evangelist.

When you watch Pope Francis and understand he is going after the Rachel Maddows of this world, it is easy to cut him some slack.

I am on board using love to disarm the demons.

Mastering what one says and does and what one doesn't say and doesn't do cannot involve the treachery of luring the uncatechized into temptation and sin by making the deposit of faith an irrelevant tool for making judgments.

The whole system of pulling people out of their tailspin relies upon right judgment.

What is love?

Is love being jolly and affectionate around people?

If you don't love enough to give people right judgment, there's a whole lot more of love of self than for the object of your love. You're leaving them to die in their sins.

The outcome of loving people in that way we shall see in hell.

Which does exist and does have souls in it.

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.
sayeth the Christ.

More clarity from Blessed John Newman:

"You will die in your sins."

We must consider the force of habit. Conscience at first warns us against sin; but if we disregard it, it soon ceases to upbraid us; and thus sins, once known, in time become secret sins. It seems then (and it is a startling reflection), that the more guilty we are, the less we know it; for the oftener we sin, the less we are distressed at it. I think many of us may, on reflection, recollect instances, in our experience of ourselves, of our gradually forgetting things to be wrong which once shocked us. Such is the force of habit. By it, (for instance) men contrive to allow themselves in various kinds of dishonesty. They bring themselves to affirm what is untrue, or what they are not sure is true, in their course of business. They overreach and cheat; and still more are they likely to fall into low and selfish ways without their observing it, and all the while to continue in their attendance on the Christian ordinances, and bear about them a form of religion. Or, again, they will live in self-indulgent habits; eat and drink more than is right; display a needless pomp and splendor in their domestic arrangements, without any misgiving; much less do they think of simplicity of manners and abstinence as Christian duties. Now we cannot suppose they always thought their present mode of living to be justifiable, for others are still struck with its impropriety; and what others now feel, doubtless they once felt themselves. But such is the force of habit. So again, to take as a third instance, the duty of stated private prayer; at first it is omitted with compuction, but soon with indifference. But is is not the less a sin because we do not feel it to be such. Habit has made it a secret sin.

To think of these things, and to be alarmed, is the first step towards acceptable obedience; to be at ease, is to be unsafe. We must know what the evil of sin is hereafter, if we do not learn it here. God give us all the grace to choose the pain of present repentance before the wrath to come!

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