THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
“Charity endureth all things”
HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST WITH A STRONG LOVE DOES NOT CEASE TO LOVE HIM IN THE MIDST OF TEMPTATIONS AND DESOLATIONS
If the impure temptation has already forced its way into the mind, and plainly pictures its object to the imagination, so as to stir the passions, then, according to the advice of St. Jerome, we must burst forth into these words: “O Lord, thou art my helper.” As soon, says the Saint, as we feel the sting of concupiscence, we must have recourse to God, and say: “O Lord, do Thou assist me”; we must invoke the most holy Names of Jesus and Mary, which possess a wonderful efficacy in the suppression of temptations of this nature. St. Francis de Sales says that no sooner do children espy a wolf than they instantly seek refuge in the arms of their father and mother, and there they remain out of all danger. Our conduct must be the same; we must flee without delay for succour to Jesus and Mary, by earnestly calling upon them. I repeat that we must instantly have recourse to them, without giving a moment’s audience to, or disputing with, the temptation. It is related in the 4th paragraph of the Book of Sentences of the Fathers, that one day St. Pacomius heard the devil boasting that he had frequently got the better of a certain monk on account of his lending ear to him, and not turning instantly to call upon God. He heard another devil, on the contrary, utter this complaint: As for me, I can do nothing with my monk, because he never fails to have recourse to God, and always defeats me.
Should the temptation, however, obstinately persist in attacking us, let us beware of becoming troubled or angry at it; for this might put it in the power of our enemy to overcome us. We must, on such occasions, make an act of humble resignation to the will of God, Who thinks fit to allow us to be tormented by these abominable temptations; and we must say: O Lord, I deserve to be molested with these filthy suggestions, in punishment of my past sins, but Thou must help to free me. And as long as the temptation lasts, let us never cease calling on Jesus and Mary. It is also very profitable, in the like importunity of temptations, to renew our firm promise to God of suffering every torment, and a thousand deaths, rather than offend Him; and at the same time we must invoke His Divine assistance. And even should the temptation be of such violence as to put us in imminent risk of consenting to it, we must then redouble our prayers, hasten into the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, cast ourselves at the foot of the Crucifix, or of some image of our Blessed Lady, and there pray with increased fervour, and cry out for help with groans and tears. God is certainly ready to hear all who pray to Him; and it is from Him alone, and not from our own exertions, that we must look for strength to resist; but sometimes Almighty God wills these struggles and then He makes up for our weakness and grants us the victory.