The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXXV: “There is No Security from Temptation in this Life” (third entry)
We end our consideration of this chapter with the words that begin it. These are foundational words for us in our struggle with temptation and sin. We know we can’t overcome our fallen nature without supernatural help. We need spiritual weapons! God’s gratuitous gift of grace is the only and ultimate spiritual weapon that helps us, sustains us, and saves us.
|Today’s first reading: Ez 36:23-28
We hear this day from the prophet’s “Book of Comfort.” Jerusalem has been sacked by the Babylonians and many of its citizens have now been taken into captivity by the conquering Babylonians. As desperate and depressing as the situation is, there is hope because God has not abandoned His people. He will restore them and bring them back together once again to show His might and holiness among the nations after the Chosen People has profaned Him. God will do this by cleansing His people and putting His spirit within them.
It is only by having God’s own Spirit within us that we have any hope of keeping His commands. We keep the life of God in us by not committing mortal sin. We are strengthened against the lure of sin through freely given grace — we have no hope in this life or the next without it. The sacraments are the ordinary means that the Lord uses to give us grace so we must take advantage of Reconciliation and the Eucharist often. Sacramentals assist us in this spiritual battle. All of this must be wrapped in frequent and consistent prayer that increasingly disposes us to be as open as possible to receive the benefit of the gift of which the Almighty so wishes us to take advantage.