Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We Join Our Lord in the Desert

St. Augustine wrote :

"Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations."

"The one who cries from the ends of the earth is in anguish, but is not left on his own. Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are his body, by means of his body, in which he has died, risen and ascended into heaven, so that the members of his body may hope to follow where their head has gone before."

"He made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan. We have heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained salvation for you; he suffered death in your nature, but by his own power gained glory for you; therefore, he suffered temptation in your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you."

"If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation."

St. Ignatius of Loyola teachings sees temptation as sometimes assisting us in our movements towards God or hindering our movement or moving us away from God and theses teachings can be applied to our daily life. One and perhaps the most central of St. Ignatius’ teachings include discernment. He defines discernment as either making the right decision or the identification of good prevailing over evil. This applies to our daily life in that we are constantly confronted with obstacles and temptations that appear to be good when in reality they are only pulling us further away from our faith. This means that whenever we make a decision we must first consider if it is inspired by our father or simply temptation at its best.

St. Ignatius also reminds us that we must not make any serious decisions when we are in times of desolation for this is when we are most susceptible to temptation. He also suggests that when we find ourselves in times of consolation it is best to prepare for desolation. This simply leads us to prevail over all desolate obstacles. He informs us that we must use strategy in difficult times.

St. Ignatius says we must be bold and take any action to confront that difficulty. In his teachings he also informs us not to keep secrets for the devil uses them to fester evil. He always finished by telling us that over all we must know our weaknesses because when evil strikes us it will always attempt to manipulate our weaknesses to its advantage. It is for this reason that St. Ignatius is not only a messenger sent by God to deliver inspiration and wisdom, but we realize that he was man and struggled to fight temptation as we all do. (from an essay by
Manuel Anton IV, of Belen Jesuit High School in Miami, Florida. )

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