Posts Tagged With: temptation

Two Temptations Given To Us By The Devil

No matter where we run, no matter where we hide, the devil will always follow. If he doesn’t present himself in one form, he will in another.

For monks who go to the desert he presents himself as a naked woman or takes visible form. For the man living in the world he uses those who are ignorant even the baptized and the clergy.

For example you’re fasting during lent and all of a sudden that friend you have whom you know would never offer you a bite to eat, asks you if you’d like a nice bite of his cream bun.

I had a friend once call me up and ask me if I’d like to go to a prostitute with him and guess what…in all our years of knowing each other this lad wouldn’t buy you so much as a Happy meal let alone drop all that money on you to go to a prostitute.

So much was his desire that I become like him and enter into his world of promiscuity. This was before my conversion and I remember agreeing to it. We arrived and nobody was there, nobody answered the door. I like to think it was Gods providence that protected me that day. What was I in the middle of doing? I was in the process of reading Holy things and trying to regain peace in my life.

The Devil saw this and along came this ”friend” of mine with a better idea. I was in the middle of reading and praying the rosary one night when he called again. ”Hey it’s on man they’re going to be there tonight”. I will never forget how liberating it was to turn around and say ”No, I’m not interested”.

From that day forward our friendship dissolved like Aspirin in water.

The devil uses men and women to tempt us which I find more scary than memory or him showing himself to me in a dream. Men will do more damage than any demonic spirit will. Ignorant souls are the devils best weapon because even they are beyond temptation and there’s not much work to be done when they’re involved.

St.Maximos the confessor in his texts on Love tells us that Jesus was tempted both ways, both by men (the pharisees) and in the desert by Satan where he presented himself in true form.

Why does he show himself to those who have retreated to a monastery or desert and not to the ordinary person living in the world? It is a good question isn’t it?

I think it’s important to note that God permits Satan to show himself so there’s a reason for it. However Satan won’t show himself to the ordinary human because it would make him obvious that he exists. He does more damage hiding behind the curtain of mans ignorance.

He shows himself to the monk in the desert first to the amateur monk through memory and sometimes dreams and to the advanced Monk he will toss around and go to war with. He will present himself as a beautiful light and angel or as a naked woman.

This is because the advanced monk already knows him. The cat is out of the bag and he’s no longer spiritually blind but tuned in now in an almost perfect awareness of what the spiritual realm.

Therefore the Devil has to work harder now.

We’ve talked briefly about the Devil tempting us through humans and showing himself. What about dreams?

All the Fathers agree that the state of our dreams will determine the state of our soul. So if we are earthly in any way our dreams will reflect that.

But that doesn’t mean the devil has entered the dream either. Your dreams are a reflection of the state of your soul.

However there is a point where the devil can enter. You’ll know by the anxiety and utter fear you experience.

The entrance of him into my dreams is rare. When he does come it’s always the same dream or similar.

I am being pulled down to Hell. There is a lot of screaming from me in the dream. I try to pray the St.Michaels prayer ”St.Michael the Archangel defend us in the day of battle” etc etc but he won’t let me speak. Every time I open my mouth or force the words out he seals my mouth shut.

I don’t stop trying and I always manage to blurt out in a loud voice ST.MICHAELLLL THE ARCHANGELLLL DEFEND…US……IN….THE……DAY OF BATTLE…….

Then I awake in a heavy sweat and the presence of the evil one still in the room I pray a little more and then go to sleep again.

Another night it was a beautiful woman in my dream. I went to make the sign of the cross in my dream and the devil wouldn’t let me. Like the same force he used to seal my mouth shut he used to prevent me from making the sign of the Cross. When I eventually did I woke up.

Dreams you see are that unaware state where the devil can enter in whatever form he likes. It’s the only one where it’s closest to being in the desert like the monk.

The best way to deal with it is to allow it to takes its course, thank God for allowing it as it’s a gift that we progress even more in our faith and also a warning that we could do better in our daily prayer life.

I know mine isn’t too good but prayer is the only way to eliminate him but I often find the most difficult temptations to deal with are the ones that come from living in the world and men themselves.

Lets pray for each other.

 

 

 

 

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Watering the soul

Looking at my bonsai tree today got me thinking. When we find a plant that is suffering from drought and it is beginning to show signs of decay, a thorough regime of watering gradually brings it back to life. Giving it just one soak with the watering can isnt going to bring it back to life straight away. It takes time and patience and a lot of weeks before it comes back to life and is blossoming, becoming the tree it was always created to be.

We unlike plants have the ability to call on Christ and have our souls watered with grace. However we can still apply all of the above to our souls. Prayer is our water, but prayer is never always answered in an instant, and its effects are never always experienced as quickly as we would often like it to be. Like with water and my bonsai tree, prayer has the purifying effect on the soul and with time and patience the gradual effects of prayer will shine through in time, bit by bit, purifying our sinful souls, so black with sin, so blind to the spiritual. Like Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, prayer raises us from our dark tombs, and then begins the gradual process of unravelling the bandages that covered our sinful secrets, so that they may be seen by the light and purged of all the ugliness.

Having drawn those comparisons between the bonsai tree and the soul, we have to remember to keep it watered, otherwise it will slip into decay again. We must attend to the garden that is our souls, lest through neglect it becomes so unfit, that even the demons just abandon it having seen it is already ruined to the point if no return. Because nothing gives the devil more of a foothold than a soul who is without need of temptation.

God bless

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40 Day Fast For The Unborn

I have noticed that temptation can approach people in many different ways and the enemy often uses our own ignorance in order to trick and seduce us into caving in and committing sin. This post I have decided to focus on fasting. I know I am not supposed to be telling people I am currently fasting but I feel the need to, not out of vanity and the desire to be seen fasting but to give examples of how I am feeling and often try to cope with the temptation and/or how it approaches me.

At present I have been doing a 40 day fast for the unborn under the invitation of Archbishop Eamonn Martin who is the Irish archbishop of Armagh and will be next year primate of all Ireland.

I decided to fast on alcohol. It all went well for the first two weeks but then the temptation really began. The temptation however usually arose strongest in me when I became upset. If I became upset after a disagreement or petty argument with my wife, or became stressed with looking after the kids for a lengthy period of time, the idea of a nice beer sounded great. One has to ask, why would I become tempted after these instances and why is upsetness and stress related to alcohol?

It’s not a medicine. It’s just a nice beverage I like to enjoy. But suddenly the enemy is presenting alcohol to me as something that can help me, something that can relieve my stress and help me forget the argument and aid relaxation. But alcohol, although relieves anxiety, is in effect the cause of anxiety and depression. If such a person as myself is experiencing a short moment of depression or anxiety, alcohol should be the last thing I need right?

Again we have the illusion set out before us by the devil, that something which will pleasure the flesh for sometime, will in the long run destroy the soul. It has been his trick since Adam and Eve. He presented to them the fruit in the garden of Eden as something delicious and nice to eat and that becoming like God and knowing good and evil was to their benefit. But we all know that it was just another illusory seductive puff of smoke set up to look good but in the end was a lie. They ( Adam and Eve ) ate of the fruit but the immediate effect was their death and banishment from the garden.

So when we buy into drinking alcohol to get rid of a problem and not to merely enjoy an ice cold beverage, we are buying into the devils lie. There is nothing wrong with enjoying alcohol, but when you become interested in alcohol only at the expense of relieving your mental pain, then you have bought the lie and no longer enjoying alcohol but abusing it. Of course seeking out alcohol to relieve stress may not be a sin, but it is the deceptive path the devil lays out that will lead us to commit sin. The enemy wants to toy with his prey before he devours it. Likes to lead it into that trap.

So how do we authentically get rid of a problem? Prayer and adoration of God in silent meditation. When we seek physical fleshly means in place of spirtitual, we seek worldly devilish means that will only lead us to death and not to life.

Merely recognising this part of the trap won’t help me keep fasting, only prayer. However I must admit my temptation has been strong this past few days mainly because my prayer has all but been scant. So please pray for me and with me. I try my own tactics when tempted and that is to think of all the unborn babies in the hands of abortionists like Kermit Gosnell and others around the world. I hear their silent screams and cries for help and this along with Gods grace of whose grace I am unworthy of, is helping me to burn the arrows of the evil one that so often befall my sinful soul. I am hanging in there if only by a mere piece of thread.

God bless
Domestic monk

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