Temptation & Self Righteousness

It is easy to fall into pride by thinking that we can conquer temptations without prayer, fasting, and patience. This is because our fallen human nature deceives us into thinking that we can battle evil by own our power. But we must humble ourselves and remember that salvation cannot be achieved by our own strength, but only by God’s. (Matthew 19:26).

To the self righteous, you may glorify yourselves and cheer “I have conquered this temptation” deceiving yourself into thinking that you are now holy; giving you the inclination to judge the sins of your brother. However, such actions shall condemn you.

St. Caesarius of Arles teaches: “The worst kind of sin is not to acknowledge that you are sinful.” (Commentary on John 1:8).

Silouan the Athonite: “Understand two thoughts, and fear them. One says, “You are a saint,” the other, “You won’t be saved.” Both of these thoughts are from the enemy, and there is no truth in them. But think this way: I am a great sinner, but the Lord is merciful. He loves people very much, and He will forgive my sins.” (Writings, XVII.1)

St. Mark the Ascetic: “Guard your mind from self-praise and flee a high opinion of yourself, so that God does not allow you to fall into the opposite [passion to the virtue for which you boast], for man does not accomplish virtue alone, but with the help of God who sees all.” (Homilies, 85)

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Do you love your neighbor?

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How can we say that we truly have the love of God within our hearts if we hate our neighbor? (See 1 John 4:20). Your neighbor extends to not only those in your community, nation, church, race, religion etc; but to all humanity. This is why Jesus gives a parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Do take note that Jews and Samaritan’s had been enemies for hundreds of years (1 King’s 15:6, John 4:9) yet the Samaritan had mercy on the Jew that was beaten, robbed, and poor. Christ, being the Prince of Peace, used this parable to give us an example of how we are to live as Christians. This is because by our actions, we preach the Gospel. (James 1:22, James 3:13, Matt 5:16).

Therefore, we must struggle to do what is right, even if it hurts. Christ commands us to love our enemies and to not curse them. (Matt 5:43, Luke 6:27-28). Doing so is to live up to the virtue of humility. To conclude, let us reflect on the words of St. Peter, Chief of the Apostles: “Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (He’s quoting Psalms 34:12-16). Now, who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer righteousness sake, you will be blessed.” (1 Peter 3:9-14).

St. Maximilian Kolbe, guilt of sin, and the Theotokos


“Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin, something you have kept doing many, many times, never let the devil deceive you by allowing him to discourage you. Whenever you feel guilty, offer all your guilt to the Immaculate, without analyzing it or examining it, as something that belongs to her…
My beloved, may every fall, even if it is serious and habitual sin, always become for us a small step toward a higher degree of perfection.
In fact, the only reason why the Immaculate permits us to fall is to cure us from our self-conceit, from our pride, to make us humble and thus make us docile to the divine graces.
The devil, instead, tries to inject in us discouragement and internal depression in those circumstances, which is, in fact, nothing else than our pride surfacing again.
If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, but rather astonished, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.”