10 March 2006

Lesser Temptations

It may seem funny to think about degrees of temptation, but today’s Gospel gives us a little reminder that the smaller temptations are just as important to avoid as the greater ones. Most of us may not have great difficulty refraining from murder and adultery but we may be tempted to harbor distain for one of our neighbors. Calling someone a “fool,” against which today’s Gospel cautions us, is tantamount to dismissing someone as worthless. The Lord warns us that giving into this temptation can be just as harmful – if not more harmful – than causing a physical injury.

Let us remember that, as important as it is to refrain from giving into the larger temptations, our work is not finished. We must be persistent in asking for the grace to avoid the (seemingly) smaller temptations which befall us.

“It is an easy thing to abstain from murder, but it is very difficult to avoid those angry outbursts which are incessantly aroused within us. . . .it is easy never to desire any man’s death, but hard never to desire what will injure him; easy to avoid open defamation, hard not to indulge in disdain. In short, lesser temptation are the continual trial of the most fervent and devout persons.”
St. Francis de Sales

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