13 October 2006

Unclean Spirits (part II)

Jesus' words, in today's Gospel, about how an unclean spirit will return to a person from whom it was expelled are rather alarming. An honest look at our spiritual lives, however, will reveal the truth of this prediction. How often have we worked at practicing a much-needed virtue or avoiding some particular temptation and not had any indication that we were making any progress. . . only to wake up one day and realize that what once challenged us is no longer a great struggle. We can't pinpoint exactly when this "unclean spirit" was expelled, but we are just aware that a burden has been lifted. As consoling as this may be, it can also be a temptation for us to think that we are above or beyond the temptation that once plagued us. And this is precisely when the unclean spirit, returning with its seven companions, can catch us off guard. True to Jesus' words, the returning spirits will find our hearts "swept clean" and, if we are not vigilant, they can gain a foothold. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to guard our hearts from all temptations -- those we have exiled and those with which we still battle.

For the first post about unclean spirits, click here.

"There is a very great difference between getting rid of a vice and acquiring its contrary virtue. It often happens that our passions slumber and become torpid, and if, while they are in this state, we do not lay in a supply of strength to enable us to fight and resist them when they wake up again, we shall be worsened in the battle."
St. Francis de Sales

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