Confidence – Twenty-Eighth Day of October
“Have confidence.” — St. Mark 6:50.
The Lord sends temptations for your good. It is a sign that He takes special care of you, and it should be for you a motive to confide in Him. — St. John Chrysostom.
A pious person who was almost unceasingly afflicted with great temptations said to an enlightened and experience priest: “Why does God permit me to be hardly ever without temptation?” The minister of God animated her confidence by speaking of the merciful designs of God in regard to His servants. He explained it in this manner: “According to St. Jerome temptations are useful to try us. In a time of peace we cannot be sure that our fidelity to God is the effect of real virtue; but he who while battling with temptation perseveres, proves clearly that he is faithful to God because he loves Him.”
“Temptations are useful for us,” says St. Bernard, “to teach us humility.” Humility is so necessary, and it attracts so many graces! He, who like St. Paul, is ready to fall at each step, knowing his own weakness, humbles himself and acknowledges the great need he has of God’s help, and will not cease to have recourse to Him.
“Temptations are useful to purify us from our imperfections and our faults,” said the pious Gerson. “When the sea is agitated by tempests it rejects from its bosom all the impurities it has received.” It is the same with him who is tempted; he is cleansed of the sins with which he was defiled, the punishment he merited for them is remitted, for he has then his purgatory.
“Temptations are necessary to strengthen us,” said the Abbé Nil. The more a tree is shaken by the wind the more firmly it is rooted in the ground. The apostle St. Paul begged the Lord to deliver him from the angel of Satan who made him suffer in a manner as perilous as it was humiliating. The Lord replied that virtue was perfected in infirmity.
“Temptations which we resist increase our merit and make us more worthy of a more brilliant crown,” said St. Gregory. In a word, they produce in us many acts of virtue which are agreeable to God. St. Dorothy made known to her director that she was besieged by great temptations. He was touched with compassion and he said would ask Our Lord to take them from here. “No, I beg of you ask for me rather the grace to come out victorious from this terrible combat,” she said. “These temptations make me suffer, but I know they are for my good; they compel me to have recourse to God by prayer, and make me practice mortification.” A holy person having been delivered from a temptation which had long assailed him, complained lovingly to God: “My Lord, am I no longer worthy to suffer, to be afflicted for love of Thee?” St. Ephrem, according to St. John Climacus, being left at peace after having passed through many temptations, begged God to permit him to have still more combats with the enemy of our salvation that he might have still greater reward in heaven by giving greater proofs of his love.
My God, I believe it is for my good that Thou sendest me temptations. Grant that I may enter into Thy designs, and that these temptations serve to humble, purify, and strengthen me, and to increase my merit.