WHAT IS TEMPTATION?
WHEN IS IT SINFUL?
- WHAT IS TEMPTATION?
- WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF TEMPTATIONS?
- IT IS IMPORTANT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN, FEELING AND THINKING, FROM CONSENTING AND ENTERTAINING TEMPTATIONS.
- POSITIVE VALUE OF TEMPTATIONS:
Dear brethren in Christ, as the 1st Sunday of Lent considers the temptations of Jesus in the desert, let us take advantage of this opportunity to review the topic on temptation, its kinds, when it is sinful and some helpful practical tips.
The word “temptation” can signify “trial”: TO TEST SOMEONE’S STRENGTH IN HIS CAPACITY TO DO WHAT IS GOOD (See Wis 3:5; Ex 16.4; Deut 13: 4; Ps 26:2).
On the other hand, it can also signify as an INCITEMENT TO COMMIT A MORAL EVIL WHICH IS PROPOSED AS SOMETHING APPARENTLY GOOD IN ORDER TO DECEIVE THE WILL. It is in this sense that we use the term.
Catholic teaching differentiates between:
- SUGGESTION, i.e. EXTERNAL temptation, which we can undergo WITHOUT COMMITTING ANY SIN; this is what Jesus had in the desert. He heard, noticed the temptations but he rejected them.
- TEMPTATION TO WHICH WE CONSENT; this is ALWAYS SINFUL, and, since it affects the deepest part of the soul, it is definitely internal, with the invilvement of one’s choice or freedom.
3. IT IS IMPORTANT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN, FEELING AND THINKING, FROM CONSENTING AND ENTERTAINING TEMPTATIONS.
- In order to avoid scruples, complications, doubts and unnecessary anguish, as to whether one has committed a sin or not, it is very important to distinguish between FEELING from CONSENTING to temptations.
- To FEEL, to SENSE the temptation IS IN ITSELF NOT A SIN.
- But, when one starts to become aware what is going on, and gives one’s CONSENT AND ENTERTAIN THEM, only then it BECOMES a SIN.
- If one, however, puts the means to reject the temptation, for example, one starts to pray, or remove his sight from something, changes a channel, or closes a pop-up, or thinks of something else, then, it is assumed that no consent is given, and thereby, no sin is committed, as long as one puts the means to reject them.
2. A prudent Christian must AVOID OCCASIONS OF TEMPTATIONS AND SIN as one logically avoids a rabid, ferocious dog. HE must NEVER DIALOGUE WITH TEMPTATIONS.
3. Oftentimes, temptations arise because one is UNOCCUPIED and does not guard his senses (especially the sense of sight). Hence, it is necessary to MAKE GOOD USE OF TIME and to be prudent in GUARDING THE SIGHT while reading, watching TV or using the internet…
Temptations, IF THEY ARE NOT WILLINGLY SOUGHT AFTER and are CONVERTED INTO POINTS OF MORAL STRUGGLE have a positive value in Christian spiritual life:
- “Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him (Jac 1:12).”
- They help us grow in HUMILITY, by understanding our weakness and THE NECESSITY TO HAVE RECOURSE TO GOD AND TO OUR LADY to ask for the grace and help to prevent us from falling; thereby taking refuge in the arms of divine mercy.
- Temptations are also a means to GROW in MERITS, to grow in VIRTUES and in our UNION WITH AND LOVE FOR GOD.
Dear friends, this 40-DAY LENTEN JOURNEY IS A REPRESENTATION OF OUR LORD’S 40-DAY STAY IN THE DESERT where with prayer and sacrifices, He was able to overcome the tempter, thereby preparing for his Public Ministry which culminated on His Passion, Death and Resurrection. LET US IMITATE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST BY BEING GENEROUS IN OUR LIFE OF PRAYER AND SACRIFICE, OVERCOMING WHATEVER TEMPTATIONS WE MAY CONFRONT DURING THIS LENTEN SEASON OUT OF LOVE FOR GOD.
A Happy Lenten journey always assured of God’s blessings and company to you and your loved ones!
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SUGGESTED TEXTS FOR PERSONAL MEDITATION:
Reflection on the three temptations of Christ:
BENEDICT XVI, “Discourse, General Audience of Feb. 13, 2013” in http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2013/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20130213.html
BENEDICT XVI, “Angelus of Feb. 21, 2010” in http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/angelus/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ang_20100221.html
PHOTO SOURCE: Juan Flandes, Temptations of Christ http://roble.pntic.mec.es/jfeg0041/arte/test/ima/ten_02.jpg