“[Temptation is] not as spectacular as possession, but it’s far more dangerous to the soul. To resist temptation is simple. You must avoid the occasions of temptation of course, and you must have a Christian and spiritual life. You must pray. You must try to behave correctly and to love the people you meet every day and the people with whom you live.” (Father François-Marie Dermine)
Father François has been an exorcist for over twenty-five years. He faces demons on a regular basis. It means something significant when he says that temptation is far more dangerous to the soul than possession.
Timmerie spent a recent segment of Trending with Timmerie talking about the dangers of temptation, the ways in which the devil uses occasions of sin to bring us down, and how we can become better at rejecting temptation.
When we examine our lives and the ways we can mitigate temptation in them, we have a tendency to gravitate toward the obvious and hyperfocus on the blatantly sinful. Eliminate overindulgence in alcohol. Eliminate drug use and pornography. And at face value, those are very good things to eliminate. But the devil often enters our lives through the most innocuous habits; things that aren’t intrinsically evil but can become so. In addition to shunning the obvious sins, be on alert for the not-so-obvious ones.
What unhealthy habits are sneakily leading us down a harmful path? Is our dedication to working out becoming an obsession with our physical appearance? Are our honesty and loyalty leading to gossiping and backbiting about people we don’t like? Are our habits of saving money and living frugally turning us into selfish misers?
The devil has a sinister habit of leading us into sin with the good. And once he’s gotten a hold of our good sense and distorted our view of the virtuous and the vicious, it becomes much easier to suggest the latter.
So how can we avoid these dangerous occasions of sin? How can we self-examine so as not to fall into the traps of the devil? Timmerie offered a brief guide based on the words of Father François:
- Have a Christian and spiritual life – You need faith, and you need to live a life that adheres to the moral teachings and precepts of the Church. You can’t treat your faith like a buffet, picking and choosing what ideas you’d like to follow. A vibrant spiritual life is directly correlated to your ability to battle against temptation.
- Pray – Don’t ever forget that you are never alone. Take advantage of God’s omnipresence. Speak to Him in mental prayer, and when you cannot find the words, recited prayer. He will never leave you unanswered when you call upon Him for assistance.
- Root yourself in the sacraments – God gave us the sacraments for a reason. They’re not optional for our salvation. They are the tools necessary to stay on course. “Receive Our Lord Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Eucharist as often as you can with reverence. But stay in a state of grace. That’s why this reverence is important when approaching Christ in the Eucharist.”
- Make a nightly examination of conscience – Do you know what kind of progress you’re making in your faults and shortcomings? How could you, without examining your day and the decisions you’ve made? As painful as it may be, look your mistakes in the eye, acknowledge them, and resolve to do better in the future.
Tune in to Trending with Timmerie weekdays at 6pm CT