Sunday, June 22, 2008

Satan, Temptation, and Your Journey

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.


Rusty Shackleford said...

Very nice post.

Receiving the sacraments, leading a diligent prayer life and living a Christian life are definitely ways to turn away from sin and the evil one.

Living your life out in this manner is not always easy, especially in today's society and culture. It is truly counter-cultural.

~Joseph the Worker said...

I totally agree with that. Thanks for your comment. It's counter cultural in the way that Christ and the apostles were and yes, it's hard, but sometimes I think it's nothing compared to what the early Church faced.

SWP said...

Since he is your patron, you should learn this prayer from St. Louis Montfort:

Hail St. Joseph the Just,
Wisdom is with you.
Blessed are you among all men,
and blessed is Jesus,
the fruit of Mary,
your faithful spouse.

Holy Joseph,
worthy foster-father of Jesus Christ, pray for us,
and obtain for us Divine Wisdom,
now and at the hour of our death.

~Joseph the Worker said...

SWP, I really like that. Interesting "twist" on the Hail Mary. They would be very good in combination with one another.

JP said...

Not only do we share the same patron saint but your advice is something I need to implement. It is NOT easy sometimes and it can be very discouraging but something as simple as prayer can, as you say, fight off the urges to sin....willingly.

Soutenus said...

Great post!
I have had the same experiences many times. Unfortunately I have chosen the wrong path at times.
That whole "avoiding the near occasion of sin" has been very helpful to me.
But the sucker punch temptations are brutal, I agree.

God bless you (and us all) on this journey. I am finding great inspiration in your blog.

mel said...

If you don't mind, I've gone back to the beginning of your posts to reread some of this great advice. I really liked this list of ways to stay strong. I know it will help as my journey is long...

~Joseph the Worker said...

Well....i guess i don't mind :P