Here are ten things I have learned about temptations that you may or may not have known before.

  1. Temptations are not sins. They are possible choices presented to you so that you can choose to move forward. Some choices are good for you, while others lead to destruction.
  2. Temptations don’t have to be an “either-or” choice. They can be multiple choices, such as going out to a restaurant to eat and looking at the menu. Pick one! The temptation is one of food that is good for you or food that is, well intentioned but leads to high cholesterol.
  3. Choices don’t have to be good or bad. I can choose Wheaties for breakfast or Cheerios. In the Spiritual Universe, temptation can mean that the Devil (personification of evil) leads us out into the desert.
  4. For a temptation to be bad for us, it must be evil. Because there are two ways to choose good or evil, one being what God tells us is bad for us (sin) and one that is good for us (Spirit). Read Galatians Chapter 5.
  5. The Devil is portrayed as a snake for good reason. Shifty, slytherin, crafty, the epitome of evil in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 2-3, the Devil seduces the secularists and even those who pride themselves on being instruments of god’s will. The Devil uses Scripture to tempt the weak of Faith and will to think that they are instruments of the Most High and power comes through them. They think they are safe because, after all, it is in Scripture, and Scripture can’t be wrong. Can it?
  6. Temptations are not the same as choices. Choice is rooted in freedom, the freedom to even choose what is bad for us. Temptation looks at at least two possibilities for choice and we can choose what God says is Good for us or choose our false self. It is the Seven Deadly Sins versus the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5.
  7. The greatest temptation is one which Satan convinces us to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (i.e., to be our own god). It worked for Adam and Eve and it is at the root of all sin. Sin means we deliberately choose evil over good. Temptation means we are presented with the choices of good or evil by Satan and encouraged to choose that which is not good for us.
  8. The temptation of Christ in the Garden of Eden was to think that all this passion and dying was a waste of time and unnecessary. This temptation was one to question the reason why he came into the World. His humanity was quavering in resolve to face what he knew was about to happen. Satan was not present. This temptation came from his being in the World with all its effects of Original Sin. He responded by making a re-commitment to God (remember Christ is also God) that God’s will be not and not His.
  9. Temptation is about the World (Satan) seducing his that there is no Satan and that all this God stuff was made up by Christ.
  10. Look at the Youtube of The Little Prince and listen to the song about “The Snake in the Grass.” Be sure to look up this video on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXonK8EBqmk

So, what does all this have to do from moving from self to God?

  • All of us have temptations (even Christ).
  • Temptations to do evil are read and present evil as being good for you.
  • God tells us and Christ shows us how to defeat evil. We can’t get rid of temptations, but we can, with the help of Lay Cistercian practices and charisms, at least identify and resist evil.
  • We must choose good (from God) over evil (from Satan via Original Sin).
  • Humility and obedience to God’s will (or our superior’s) helps us to put temptation in the proper perspective.
  • We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation to sustain us if we do fall, and to re-commit ourselves to God’s will.

Pope Francis recently approved a change to the Our Father from the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops to change the prayer from “…and lead us not into temptation,” to that of “… do not abandon us to temptation”… The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has made no determination as to this change. So, what is the temptation surrounding this change?

Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who i, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology

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