Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"On the danger to which tepidity exposes the soul" (part 2)

"Temptation of St. Anthony," Hieronymous Bosch

The following is taken from a sermon for Passion Sunday by our Lenten guide, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church:

[D]eliberate and habitual venial sins not only deprive us of strength to resist temptations, but also of the special helps without which we fall into grievous sins.  . . .  It is certain that of ourselves we have not sufficient strength to resist the temptations of the Devil, of the flesh, and of the world.  It is God that prevents our enemies from assailing us with temptations by which we would be conquered.  Hence Jesus Christ has taught us the following prayer:  And lead us not into temptation.  He teaches us to pray that God may deliver us from the temptations to which we would yield, and thus lose his grace.  Now, venial sins, when they are deliberate and habitual, deprive us of the special helps of God which are necessary for preservation in his grace.  I say necessary because the Council of Trent anathematizes those who assert that we can persevere in grace without a special help from God.  . . .  Thus with the ordinary assistance of God, we cannot avoid falling into some mortal sin: a special aid is necessary.  But this special aid God will justly withhold from tepid souls who are regardless of committing, with full deliberation, many venial sins.  Thus these unhappy souls shall not persevere in grace.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.

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