CONTAINING NEEDFUL COUNSELS CONCERNING SOME ORDINARY TEMPTATIONS.
Chapter VII --Remedies for Great Occasions.
SO soon as you feel yourself anywise tempted, do as our little children when they see a wolf or a bear in the mountains. Forthwith they run to the protection of their father or mother, or at least cry out for help. Do you fly in like manner to God, claiming His compassion and succour,--it is the remedy taught us by our Lord Himself: "Pray that ye enter not into temptation" 1
If, nevertheless, the temptation persists or increases, hasten in spirit to embrace the holy Cross, as though you beheld Jesus Christ Crucified actually Present. Make firm protests against consenting, and ask His Help thereto; and, so long as the temptation lasts, do you persist in making acts of non-consent. But while making these acts and these protests, do not fix your eyes on the temptation,--look solely on Our Lord, for if you dwell on the temptation, especially when it is strong, your courage may be shaken. Divert your mind with any right and healthy occupation, for if that takes possession and fills your thoughts, it will drive away temptation and evil imaginations.
One great remedy against all manner of temptation, great or small, is to open the heart and lay bare its suggestions, likings, and dislikings, to your director; for, as you may observe, the first condition which the Evil One makes with a soul, when he wants to seduce it, is silence. Even as a bad man, seeking to seduce a woman, enjoins silence concerning himself to her father or husband, whereas God would always have us make known all His inspirations to our superiors and guides.
If, after all, the temptation still troubles and persecutes us, there is nothing to be done on our side save to persist in protesting that we will not consent; for just as no maiden can be married while she persists in saying No, so no soul, however oppressed, can be guilty while it says the same.
Do not argue with your Enemy, and give but one answer,--that with which Our Lord confounded him, "Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." 2 Just as the pure wife would make no reply, and cast no glance on the foul seducer who strove to lead her astray, but would straightway fly from him to her husband's side, not arguing, but cleaving to her lawful lord in renewed fidelity;--so the devout soul when assailed by temptation should never trifle with it by answer or argument, but simply fly to the Side of Jesus Christ, its Bridegroom; renewing its pledges of unchanging devotion and faithfulness to Him.
1. S. Luke xxii. 40.
2. S. Matt. iv. 10.