Friday, October 12, 2012

Temptations and Trails, Part V

The question is whether this positive view of temptations can help us today.  For one thing, the perspective might liberate us from a false striving for perfection.  Those for whom everything depends upon being correct will miss out on life for fear of making some mistake.  Their lives will atrophy.  They will, it is true, be correct, but not vital and capacious.  Coming to terms with temptation, the certainty that temptation is a part of us, make us more human, or, as the monks say, humbler.  It shows us that we are alays under attack, that we can never claim to stand above all temptations, that hatred and jealousy, say, or adultery are not problem for us.  Anyone who maintains that he would never betray his wife or girlfriend has not yet encountered his own heart.  Coming to terms with temptation makes us alert. 

We sometimes have a false image of holiness.  We think that the saints are beyond all temptations, but that's wrong.  Knowing about temptation without being overpowered by it is a way that keeps us alive, that concintually reminds us that we cannot make ourselves better, that only God can transform us.  Only God can give us the victory in the battle with temptations, can bring us profound peace that can't be experienced as intensely without a struggle.

from Heaven Begins Within You
by Anselm Gruen

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