Remedies against temptations

July 22, 2021 • 3 min

From Introduction to the Devout Life, page 232
By St. Francis de Sales

Remedies against great temptations.

As soon as you perceive that you are tempted, follow the example of children; when they see a wolf or a bear, they at once run to the arms of their father or mother, or at least they call out to them for help. It is the remedy which our Lord taught, when He said; “Pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matt. xxvi. 41).

If you find, notwithstanding this, that the temptation still continues, or even increases, run in spirit to embrace the holy cross, as if you saw Jesus Christ crucified before you. Protest that you will never consent to the temptation, crave his help against it, and continue still to refuse your consent, as long as the temptation continues.

But in making these protestations and in refusing to consent, look not upon the temptation, but only on our Lord; for if you look upon the temptation, especially whilst it is strong, it may shake your courage. Divert your thoughts to some good and pious reflections, for good thoughts, when they occupy your heart, will chase away every evil temptation and suggestion.

But the great remedy against all temptations, whether great or small, is to lay open your heart to your spiritual director, and communicate its suggestions, feelings. and affections to him; for you must observe, that silence is the first condition that the enemy makes with a soul which he desires to seduce; whereas God, on the other hand, requires that we should make known his inspirations to our superiors and directors.

If after all this, the temptations should still continue to harass and persecute us, we have nothing to do on our part but to continue resolute in our resolution, never to yield our consent; for as a girl can never be married so long as she answers No; so the soul, although she may be ever so long tempted, can never sin so long as she does the same.

Never dispute with your enemy, nor make him any reply but what is similar to that one by which our Saviour confounded him: “Begone, Satan, the Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve;” for as a chaste wife should never reply to the loose conversation of an immoral man, but quit him abruptly, and at the same instant turn her heart towards her husband, and renew the promise of allegiance which she made to him; so the devout soul that sees herself assailed by temptation ought not by any means to lose time in answering the enemy, but with all simplicity turn towards Jesus Christ, her Spouse, and renew her protestation of fidelity to Him, and her resolution to remain solely and entirely his for ever.

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