Father Tanquerey defined temptation as "a solicitation to evil on the part of our spiritual foes." God allows us to be tempted so that we will merit Heaven, but He does not tempt us directly.Temptation is a means of purification and an instrument of spiritual progress.Sin surrendered to is an invitation to the repentant sinner "to humble himself sincerely before God, to acknowledge his incapacity to do any good, to place his trust in God, to be all the more cautious, and return to the practice of penance.A fault thus repaired will not constitute a serious obstacle to perfection." We do not throw ourselves headlong into temptation without real necessity; however, neither do we fail to see that when God permits us to be tempted, amazing spiritual progress is possible.This writer is especially indebted to that of the well-known French Sulpician priest, the Very Reverend Father Adolphe Tanquerey, D. (1854-1932), presented in his classic The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology (Tournai: Desclee & Co., 1930, second and revised edition, translated by the Reverend Father Herman Branderis, S. The flesh is often called "concupiscence," which is the inclination to sin deep within us.The world and the Devil are external to us, but also very powerful threats to our true and lasting happiness.In discussing the workings of Satan, many spiritual authors focus on two categories: 1.) Extraordinary Satanic Activity, which covers varied evil disturbances like external pain caused by demons, diabolical possession, diabolical oppression, diabolical obsession, diabolical infestation and diabolical subjugation; 2.) Ordinary Satanic Activity, which, in a word, is temptation.This pamphlet addresses very briefly the second category, namely the workings of Satan in his "ordinary" activity, that is temptation.
Our Three Spiritual Foes There are valuable treatments of the important subject of temptation. We have three spiritual foes: 1.) the flesh; 2.) the world; 3.) the Devil.
D.) in his First Letter (): "For all that is in the world, the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world." Therefore, the spiritual foe we term the flesh may be further divided into: A.) the concupiscence of the flesh, which is the inordinate love of sensual pleasures; B.) the concupiscence of the eyes, which is all unwholesome curiosity and inordinate love of the goods of our earth; C.) the pride of life, which is excessive self-love and is accompanied by vanity.
2.) The world signifies "not the total aggregate of men upon the earth, among whom are found both choice souls and irreligious men; but the sum-total of those who oppose Jesus Christ and are the slaves of the threefold concupiscence." Identified as such are unbelievers, the indifferent, hardened sinners and those who believe and even practice their religion but do so mired in a moral laxity.
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God is concerned in our success, for it is He Whom the Devil assails in us, it is His work which He would wreck in us." 2.) Resistance against temptation is indispensable.