I think sin and temptation is a very interesting thing. Sometimes we never know when or how it is going to hit us. It usually comes at us from behind and sucker punches us in the back of the head. Sometimes we are tempted to do things over and over again, making the same mistakes and having to confess the same sins over and over. Why this temptation comes, we might never know. I realized something very odd the other day. I was tempted to do something that I know I shouldn't do and the temptation was very strong. Usually, when I am tempted or distressed I resolve to say three prayers: The sign of the cross, a Hail Mary, and a prayer to St. Joseph my patron saint. I realized the other day that I really didn't want to say those prayers because I KNEW they would work, and I really wanted to give in to my temptation. Eventually, of course, I did say the prayers, and of course they worked like they always do and I avoided temptation. Anyway, just reflecting on the nature of sin made me think about how to avoid it. I came up with the following ways:
1) Surround yourself with religious artifacts. This will keep your mind of the goal and remind you when you are about to do or say something that you shouldn't.
2) Use holy water liberally. I know to many people in modern society this sounds superstitious, but using holy water on yourself, your house, your car, your surroundings at the very least will remind you of your baptismal vows and purify your mind.
3) Pray often and on a schedule (Especially the liturgy of the hours and the rosary). Filling your mind with prayers is another way to keep bad thoughts (and later actions and words) out of your mind.
4) Frequent confession regularly. Confession gives you an opportunity to get over the burden of your sins. Sometimes when we are burdened by sin it makes us continue to fall into the same traps because we feel like we can never get out and fall into despair. That's just where the devil wants us. Confession also provides a priest with the opportunity to give you practical advice on how to avoid temptation and sin in the future.
5) Frequent Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, but partake of the Eucharist as often as possible through Daily Mass. This sacrament, the greatest of them all, will strengthen us physically and mentally. Most importantly, it strengthens us spiritually.
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