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Filtering by Tag: Blessed Virgin Mary

In Times of Temptation

Allie Reis

“Do not grieve over the temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grow in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast,” St. Philip Neri tells us.

Temptations can be extremely difficult at times and disheartening, especially if we are trying to better ourselves and become holier. But there is no need to ever feel anxious about temptations, we simply need to remember their purpose and how to treat them. God gives us temptations in order to test us and help strengthen and perfect our souls in virtue and goodness. We should then pray for the grace to see the greater good that comes from temptations, trust always in the love and power of God, learn to run away from temptations in the moment, and lean on the power of the Angels and Saints to assist us.

God’s Loving Plan

God never intended us to have to go through temptation; yet since Adam and Eve chose to eat the apple in the Garden of Eden, we have to build ourselves back up in order to reach perfection. God knows very well of our weaknesses, and is very careful to only allow temptations that we can handle and fight. If it seems at times that the temptations we are experiencing are unbearable and undefeatable, it is usually because we have put ourselves in the occasion of sin.

Occasion of sin is when we put ourselves in a dangerous position where sin is usually the outcome. If we continue to place ourselves in these situations and ask God why He is not giving us the strength to fight, it is because we have already gone halfway ourselves. We should then be careful not to place ourselves in the occasion of sin, and will soon realize the loving care that God gives to us when we choose Him over sin. Our God waits in anticipation for us to enter a church to visit Him, after He has waited days, weeks, or even years to see us. Would He not also listen to our pleas when we cry out for help?

Temptation is precisely the opportunity for us to turn our eyes to God and grow our love for Him. In order to prove this, let us imagine our lives without any temptations at all. We live our lives and go through our days without once being tested by a temptation. We may think of God from time to time, but this would be very easy for us. Our souls would never have the opportunity to grow because we proved our love to God; rather, we would simply be stuck in a state of indifference. Therefore, when we are being tempted, let us not dwell on our weaknesses or become saddened that God would allow such a thing, but look to God immediately and offer a prayer of love to let Him know we are still thinking of Him.

Temptations Consuming Us  

Oftentimes, especially if we are scrupulous, temptations can turn into an obsession we are terrified about. At every turn we worry there is going to be a temptation, and when the temptation comes we dwell on it in fear and feel we have no way to get over it. What we do not realize is that the devil is tempting us in a very different manner than we think.

For example, we have an improper image in our heads. We have worried all day that an image would pop into our heads, and here it is. Now that it is here, we become paralyzed and panicked. You may think the devil wants you to fall into impurity, when really he wants you to become anxious and not turn to God. Anxiety is such a peril for the soul, because it robs us of all hope and trust in Christ. In these moments, do not acknowledge the temptation or the strength you may or may not have to fight it. Simply refuse and move on. If a temptation is simplified in the moment and is refused in calmness, temptations will no longer control our lives.

There is a fantastic quote from St. Francis de Sales about this: “The beginning of all temptation lies in a wavering mind and little trust in God, for as a rudderless ship is driven hither and yon by waves, so a careless and irresolute man is tempted in many ways. Fire tempers iron and temptation steels the just. Often we do not know what we can stand, but temptation shows us what we are. Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks.”

Temptations are best fought in simplicity and at a fast pace. Let us always trust in God and turn to Him immediately when we feel in danger. This way we will grow in perfection and gain great merit for fighting bravely for Christ.

The Saints and Angels Wait

St. Alphonsus tells us: “Our prayers are so dear to God, that He has appointed the Angels to present them to Him as soon as they come forth from our mouths. 'The Angels,' says St. Hilary, 'preside over the prayers of the faithful, and offer them daily to God.' This is that smoke of the incense, which are the prayers of Saints, which St. John saw ascending to God from the hands of the Angels (Apoc. 8:3); and which he saw in another place represented by golden phials full of sweet odors, very acceptable to God.”

The Saints and Angels are our dearest friends and know very well of the trials of temptations. The more we trust the Angels and Saints, the more they will give to us. Does a close friend give us all of their love when we are constantly doubting them and their love for us? If we find this confidence difficult, prayer for the grace of confidence can mend this. The saints struggled greatly with temptations, even Our Blessed Lord allowed the devil to tempt Him. And why did He do this? To set an example for us and merit all the strength we will ever need to defeat temptations. The devil may be very powerful, but what is his power to legions of angels and myriads of saints?

He is completely powerless over us if we place our trust in the saints and angels, and ask for their protection.

Let us then always trust in God and not be paralyzed by anxiety because of temptations, and especially always remember Our Blessed Mother. St. Bernard of Clairvaux once said when speaking of difficulties: “In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not Her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of Her prayer, neglect not to walk in Her footsteps. With Her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking Her, you shall never lose heart; so long as She is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while She holds your hand, you cannot fall; under Her protection you have nothing to fear; if She walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if She shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."

Mary crushes the head of the devil, and protects us more lovingly than any mother on earth. She knows too well of our struggles and sufferings, and will be there at all times to help us.

Prayer in Times of Temptation                                           

Behold me, O my God, at Thy feet! I do not deserve mercy, but O my Redeemer, the Blood which Thou didst shed for me encourages me and obliges me to hope for it. How often I have offended Thee, repented, and yet have I again fallen into the same sin. O my God, I wish to amend, and in order to be faithful to Thee, I will place all my confidence in Thee. I will, whenever I am tempted, instantly have recourse to Thee. Until now, I have trusted in my own promises and resolutions and have neglected to recommend myself to Thee in my temptations. This has been the cause of my repeated failures. From this day forward, be Thou, O Lord, my Strength, and thus shall I be able to do all things, for “I can do all these things in Him Who strengtheneth me.” Amen.

Prayer through Intercession

Allie Reis

Nature of Prayer

Prayer is incredibly essential in the spiritual life, as it helps perfect the soul and give God the honor and glory He deserves. St. Ignatius of Loyola had a burning love for prayer, and says, “We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.” Prayer reminds us why we were put on this earth, and makes God seem closer to our hearts, rather than a distant Creator. But because we are human and are so weak, it can often feel like our prayers are not strong enough to obtain from God what we seek.  

We pray Rosary after Rosary, worrying that everything we do will never be enough. But if God is our heavenly Father, would He not help us even with prayer? “Our Lord loves you and loves you tenderly; and if He does not let you feel the sweetness of His love, it is to make you more humble and abject in your own eyes," St. Padre Pio reminds us. God understands the hardships of life that we are going through far more than even we do! If He understands all this, would He not understand our want for perfection in our prayers? God fully knows all our desires, and if we desire perfection, He will give us all the means we need to attain it. He has set up ways of intercession for us when we pray, through His angels, His saints, and even Himself. 

Remember the Holy Angels 

Firstly, prayer can be purified and perfected if we call upon the Holy Angels to help us. We can entrust our intentions to them, who have never sinned, and be confident of their power when they lovingly present them to God. Their tender eyes can implore the Almighty to help us in all the ways we need. The Angels are incredibly eager to help us, so it is a shame we often forget about them in our busy world! 

St. John Bosco was very devoted to the Angels and told us, “When tempted, invoke your Angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: he trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.” How much more will God, Who already burns with the desire to assist us, have compassion for our souls when He sees them being carried in the arms of the angels to Him?  

Call Upon the Saints 

We can then call upon the intercession of the Saints. They know very well our struggles since they lived with them, as well. They desire just as much as the Angels to take our prayers to the heavenly throne of Christ. How many friends we have in Heaven that can help purify our prayers! We can also grow in our devotion towards them, depending on what we are asking for. For example, we can strengthen our devotion to St. Joseph if we ask him to help us with our courtship, or St. Philomena with purity. God gives us so many ways to help us perfect our souls. All we need to do is ask, seek, and knock! Oftentimes we feel alone on this earth, unable to attain the perfection we seek. Yet we have so many friends constantly waiting for us to lift up our eyes to them so that they may help us. Let us also never forget the greatest of saints, Our Blessed Mother, Who also waits lovingly for us to call upon Her. 

The means of perfecting our prayers is endless, there is no need to ever worry that our prayers are not enough.

Our Supreme Advocate

Finally, Our Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven to be our supreme Advocate with His heavenly Father. He shed His Blood, suffered through the worst torments, and emotionally drained Himself to the point where on the Cross He asked God the Father why He had abandoned Him. He did all this to save us, but also because He never wanted us to say that He didn’t know what it felt like to suffer. And in stepping into our shoes in the most loving and self-sacrificing of ways, He merited all we need to be perfect. 

Let us then do all we can to place our intentions in the hands of our loving Savior, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother and the angels and saints, and stop worrying so much about the impossibility of being perfect. Perfection is not attained in a day, but by God’s grace can be attained in a lifetime on earth for an eternity in Heaven. 

Aids for Prayer 

Below are two prayers that can help us begin asking for intercession from Heaven. It is as simple as a couple sentences to ask for great assistance from above:  

“Almighty Father, I place the Precious Blood of Jesus before my lips before I pray, that my prayers may be purified before they ascend to Thy divine altar.”  

“O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of Divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in Heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.” 

God cares for us continuously, and never wants to make it impossible for us to reach sanctity. The devil often tries to persuade us that the will of God is too difficult to follow, since we are so weak. But what are temptations and weaknesses to an army of saints and angels, as well as Our Lady Herself standing in the front victoriously? All things are possible with God (see Matt. 19:26, Mark 10:27). He simply asks that we try.