I recently finished a beautiful novel by Michael O’Brien, The Eclipse of the Sun. Among the many spiritual insights and spiritual direction I received from the book, one point in particular stood out for me. It’s found in the following passage on page 431 of the novel:
“…that he would not rely upon his own little satchel of strengths, that he would not be so foolish as to regard himself as impervious to temptation.”
That he, Father Andrei, would not be so foolish as to regard himself as impervious to temptation.
How often have I gotten out of confession, forgiven and absolved of a particular sin I have been struggling with, and thought, even for a second, “Great! Now I know better. I can resist the temptation to commit that sin again. ” Fool!
Or even better: “Great! I have overcome this one instance of temptation, therefore, I can stand immune to temptation in the next situation.” Bigger Fool!
As you probably already know from experience, and which I have learned over time, is that no one could possibly be impervious to temptation. But that is our first instinct is it not?
Too comfortable and too quick are we to turn to the little satchel of “strengths” (whatever that even means) to deal with a situation by ourselves, on our own, as opposed to what we ought to do… always. Turning to the Lord. But the cost! It requires a great deal of effort on our part, a great act of our will in order to do what is contrary to our fallen human nature.
Let us neither ignore nor undermine Divine Providence! Let us rest assured that with time and hope and great confidence, the Lord will come to our assistance in the way and at the time He wills. In the meantime, let us listen to what He is whispering to our hearts about the condition of our souls. Let us not be so foolish as to regard ourselves as impervious to temptation.
That I, Christine, may not be so foolish as to regard myself as impervious to temptation. Amen.