Encouragement to souls under temptation

July 19, 2021 • 3 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 229
By St. Francis de Sales

An Encouragement to a soul that is under temptation

Those violent assaults and extraordinary temptations, Philothea, are only permitted by God against those souls which He desires to elevate to the highest degree of Divine love, yet it does not follow that they shall afterwards attain it, for it has often happened that those who have been constant under these assaults, have, for want of faithfully corresponding with the Divine favour, been afterwards overcome by very small temptations.

This I tell you, in order that, if you should happen hereafter to be assailed by great temptations you may know that God confers an extraordinary favour on you, when He thus declares his will to make you great in his sight: and that, nevertheless, you must be always humble and fearful, not being able to assure yourself that you can conquer small temptations, even after you have overcome great ones, by any other means than by constant fidelity towards his Divine Majesty.

Therefore, whatever temptation may hereafter assail you, or with whatever delectation they may be accompanied, as long as you refuse your consent, not only to the temptation, but also to the delectation, do not give yourself the trouble, for God is not offended.

As, when a man is so far gone in a fit as to show no sign of life, people lay their hands on his heart, and if they feel the least palpitation, judge him to be still alive, and that, by the application of some restorative, he may again recover his strength and senses; so it sometimes happens that, by the violence of a temptation, our soul seems to have fallen into a fit, so as to have no longer any spiritual life or motion; but if we desire to know how it is with her, let us lay our hand upon our heart, and consider whether it and our will still retain some palpitation of the spiritual life—that is to say, whether they have done their duty in refusing to consent and yield to the temptation and delectation; for as long as this motion remains, we may rest assured that charity, the life of the soul, remains in us, and that Jesus Christ our Saviour, although concealed, is there present; so by means of the continual exercise of prayer, the sacraments, and confidence in God, we shall again return to a strong, sound, and healthy spiritual life.

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