Our Lenten Journey with St Francis de Sales – 26 February – The First Sunday of Lent – 2 Corinthians 6:1-10, Matthew 4:1-11 – Scripture search here: https://www.drbo.org/
“My son, when you come to serve God,
prepare your soul for temptation.”
Ecclus. Sirach 2:1
“At that time Jesus
was led by the Spirit
into the desert,
to be tempted by the devil.”
St Francis de Sales (1567-1622)
“IN THE FIRST PLACE, I note that although no-one can be exempt from temptation, still no-one should seek it or go of his own accord, to the place where it may be found, for undoubtedly, he who loves it will perish in it (Ecclus (Sirach 3:27).
That is why the Evangelist says that Our Lord was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted – it was not then by His choice (I am speaking with regard to His human nature) that He went to the place of temptation but, He was led by the obedience He owed to His heavenly Father. …
If we are led by the Spirit of God to the place of temptation, we should not fear but should be assured that He will render us victorious! (1 Cor 10:13).
But, we must not seek temptation, nor go out to allure it, however holy and generous we may think ourselves to be, for we are not more valiant than David, nor than our Divine Master Himself, Who did not choose to seek it.
Our enemy is like a chained dog – if we do not approach, it will do us no harm, even though it tries to frighten us by barking at us. …
… No-one who comes to serve God can avoid temptations.
… The great Apostle, St Paul, as soon as he had given himself to the Divine service and ranged himself on the side of Christianity, was immediately tempted for the rest of his life. (2 Cor 12:7). While he was an enemy of God and persecuted the Christians, he did not feel the attack of any temptation, or at least he has given us no testimony of it in his writings. But he did when he was converted by Our Lord.
Thus, it is a very necessary practice, to prepare our soul for temptation. That is, wherever we may be and however perfect we may be, we must rest assured that temptation will attack us.
Hence, we ought to be so disposed and to provide ourselves with the weapons necessary to fight valiantly in order to carry off the victory – since the crown is only for the combatants and conquerors! (2 Tim 2:5; Jas 1:12).
We ought never to trust in our own strength or in our courage and go out to seek temptation, thinking to confound it but, … if we encounter it, we must remain firm in the confidence which we ought to have that He will strengthen us against the attacks of our enemy, however furious they may be!.” (Extract-Sermon 1st Sunday of Lent – 13 February 1622).
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