About temptations

…Without temptations no one can be saved…

Much can be said about someone based on his reaction to temptation. Some murmur quietly, some judge the offender, some make a loud fuss, and some altogether become enraged and seek vengeance; rarely, some quietly, with tears thank God for correction, offer Him a heart that is broken and humbled, which He will not despise.

Yes, all of us are familiar with temptations: illness, betrayal, offence, undeserved – seemingly – accusations, various break downs… It is difficult to describe everything that can happen with us on life’s journey. St. Anthony the Great has the following words: “Everyone can steer the ship during good weather, a true seaman is revealed during the time of a storm.”

The tempests of temptations are a certain God’s x-ray, which reveals to us the passions hiding deep within our souls. If there were no temptations, we would have never found out how week and helpless we are without God. If there were no temptations, we would never come to know how far we are from perfection, to which we are called by God.

Once, I asked an acquaintance if he plays tennis. He told me that he never lost a match to anyone in his life, for which I admired him greatly… then he added that he never played… My admiration vanished without a trace.

Each temptation is a spiritual battle, a combat that shows us our true spiritual state. Winning, we obtain God’s grace and move forward to the next battle, yet even when we lose, we should not become despondent, our spirit should not be cast down. If a temptation should overcome us, let us not give the enemy any cause for joy and let us turn our failure into a weapon against him by sincere repentance and humility.

Much in our life depends on our attitude: if in at all times and in all things we thank the Lord, then no temptation will be able to crush our faith, but if we grumble and seek an easy life, if we wish to pass through the wide gates, then every – even the most minute and insignificant – temptation will be a torment for us. Therefore, let us thank the Lord for every temptation and let us protect our souls from all harm by humility and meekness. Being tempted, let us be discerning and let us not proudly seek temptations, because hotheaded imprudence never served anyone for good. In contrition of heart let us always remember the words of the Lord’s prayer: “…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Amen.

Appendicitis

There lived a boy.  Each summer, much like other children of his age, he spent at his grandmother’s place.  He spent entire days playing with friends, running through the streets, riding a bike, playing soccer, playing hide and seek, playing war; he came home only to eat, to grab some candy to take outside, and toward evening, to sleep.

A few days in a row his right side was hurting.  The pain was getting worse slowly and finally got so bad that, when he woke up one morning, he was moving from the bed to the couch and back from the couch to the bed to get some relief.  The pain didn’t go away and when his grandmother came home for lunch, he barely ate a tip of the spoon’s worth of mashed potatos and begged to go back to bed.

– Is it your appendix?  – asked the grandmother.  – I don’t know.  – It hurts terribly.  – The boy was looking at his grandmother while she approached the phone.  – Should I call an ambulance?  – No…  – Can a person die from an appendicitis?  – Yes, if it ruptures.  – Then, call an ambulance.  The fear of death outweighed the fear of the examination by a doctor.

The ambulance was quick.  The male nurse felt the boy’s stomach and said that he should be examined by a surgeon.  With tears the grandmother sent the boy to the hospital and went to ask to leave early from work in order to follow her grandson.  At the hospital, after a short examination, the surgeon said:  “Immediately into surgery”.

The grandmother’s call saved the boys life.  His appendix started rupturing shortly before the surgery.  Later on, the doctor said that the next day would have been too late.

Epilogue

There are moments in life when it is critical to ask for help in time.  One may have an “appendicitis” in one’s soul, an “appendicitis” that has to be properly cleaned, or entirely removed, in order to avoid spiritual death.

Unrepented sins contaminate the soul, make it dark, unhappy, restless, deprived of inner peace.  Remembering of wrongs, envy, anger, avarice, lust, moral downfalls, lies, laziness, pride, self-love, self-will, and other sins and passions poison the heart, make it hard, cold, cruel, unable to love.

The one, who has experienced a serious illness, values good health above money and worldly goods.  Let us, therefore, before all else take proper care for the well-being of our soul.  Let us cleanse our hearts with sincere repentance.  Let us forgive our offenders and enemies.  Let us abandon excessive anxiety about the coming day.  Then, we will come to know how invaluable the spiritual health is.