“[H]eavenly consolation is promised to those who are proved by temptation. ‘To him who overcomes,’ says the Lord, ‘I will permit to eat of the tree of life.'” (IC 2,9,7) | “Your opponent the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith” (1 Pt 5:8-9a)

In this chapter on consolations and the loss of them (2,9), Kempis emphasizes the importance of being steadfast in holiness of life even if consolations do not come from above or even from those around us.  Even the saints experienced dryness, so who are we to think that we will not be given this grace.  This feeling of the absence of God should not alter our behavior toward God or others, particularly in the realm of temptation, as mentioned here.  The Lord, ultimately, will not hold back His assistance and encouragement to those who remain faithful and resist sin.

In today’s first reading (1 Pt 5:5b-14), we hear proclaimed the close of the apostle Peter’s first letter addressed to Christian communities in Asia Minor.  The importance of humility in dealings with others is stressed (“God opposes the proud”); humility in this life leads to exaltation in the next. Peter goes on to caution against the wiles of the Devil who desires for them to lose heart in temptation and suffering (“Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little”).

Keep the faith! Peter exhorts these young Christians.  The Devil’s machinations are no match for the grace of God that He is so desirous of providing.  The trials of this life are just a means to exercise faith, to strengthen it, just as lifting weights build up physical muscles.  Thus, a greater good comes from them.

Resisting temptation can be exceedingly difficult and we are not always successful.  We know of the ocean of mercy that God is, so as long as we draw breath, we can repent.  But let us not wait to make changes — as has been said: there is no time like the present.  “Heavenly consolation is promised…to him who overcomes”!  The “tree of life” awaits as our reward — everlasting life in the Divine Presence.  Even if that were the only consolation we ever receive, it would be more than enough and far more than we deserve.

God does not abandon His children.  He knows what we need (Lk 11:11-13).  Let us never forget to or hesitate to turn to the Father, through the Son, with the Holy Spirit to ask for the grace to resist sin.  The Lord’s promise:

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

File:Pasquale Ottino San Marcos escribe sus Evangelios al dictado de San Pedro Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.jpgSt. Mark writes his Evangelium at the dictation of St. Peter
attributed to Pasquale Ottini (1578-1630)

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