Let the Morning Star rise in your heart
November 18, 2021 • 9 min
Are you tempted more than you can imagine? That’s good news! It’s like a mother about to give birth: the labor pain is always strongest and most often right before she is delivered of her child.
And as Jesus says, as soon as she forgets the pain and is filled with joy, because a child is born into the world. In the same way, your temptation is almost over, and the virtue you’re striving for is almost born into your soul!
Just keep waiting a little longer. The stronger the temptation, the closer you are to being freed from it in two ways: it’ll go away, and the next time it comes back, your virtue will be much stronger than it, and able to overcome it!
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” — James 4:7-8
Besides, what is there in the temptation that’s not found much better, much more perfect, much more purely and happily in God?
Are you tempted to have others think highly of you? What does their judgment matter? Can they see the secrets of your thoughts and heart the way God can? And even if they could, is their judgment pure and their wisdom infinite? They are created by God like anyone else, their entire being depends on God. What does their judgment of you matter?
But if God thinks well of you, then you have something to boast about! The Angels and Saints in Heaven are those we should want to impress. And we can only do that with humility, for God will exalt the humble, and raise the lowly. We should choose the lowest place at the table, and God will bring us to a higher one. Whoever would be last, will be made first.
On the other hand, are you afraid of people? The punishments they can give you, if you fail to do what they want you to? The scorn, the rebukes, the ostracization, the contempt they will show you? Jesus says “do not fear those who can kill the body, and afterwards have nothing left that they can do. Fear him rather, who can kill both body and soul in hell.” Here Jesus means to fear offending God, for that is far worse for us than to offend evil men, as long as God isn’t offended by it. It’s far worse to offend Infinite Love, to offend Infinite Goodness, Perfection, Kindness, and Mercy, because such sins make us bad. Whereas offending people who want us to do evil, by not joining their evil, is actually proof that we’re becoming good like God.
Are you tempted to have beautiful things? To surround yourself with gold or gems, fine clothing, or beautiful people? Did these creations make themselves beautiful? No, God created them, and their beauty has their source entirely in him. God is the most beautiful, but it is not a physical beauty.
Are you surprised beauty can be invisible? Consider the most beautiful, harmonious, melodious song you ever heard. It is filled with beauty, but you can’t see or touch it. This is because there are invisible properties to the music that you can’t see but can somehow see with your mind. You recognize something in the music that’s beautiful, that draws you to it, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is.
God is the most harmonious, the most symmetric, the most perfect, the source of all beauty and perfection. And he wants to be united to our souls! He’s knocking at the door! We just have to let him in. He promised us that in Heaven, he will be united to us in a new way, and we will have all eternity to experience His Beauty, the source of all beauty in art, in music, in the human body, in the human mind, in all human creations.
(And my personal guess is that we will be able to explore that by creating beautiful things, art, music, inventions, etc. for all eternity, and share them with one another, just as we do here on earth, but in some much better way. Imagine a person who only sees shades of gray, suddenly being able to see every shade of every color we can see. I imagine there will be just as many new colors, and sounds, and atomic elements, in the new creation. Like the difference between a seed and a tree, as Jesus puts it.)
Are you tempted to be greedy about having more free time? Where do you think time comes from? God gave you that time, and he can give you more. He gave the first people a thousand years to live on earth. Although he only gives you 120 years in this life, he promises eternal life. And not a life like this one, but one free from all problems, a life without the need for sleep or with the drowsiness that stops us from accomplishing what we want. A life free from people who will thwart our goals, or who can’t understand or appreciate our creations.
Are you tempted to be greedy about money? What do you want to spend it on? God is the creator of everything that you can buy with money, or invent, or find in nature. Are you worried he can’t give you enough? He multiplied the loaves and fish so that tens of thousands of people were fed from a few dozen loaves of bread and fish. He told St. Peter to cast the net on the right side of the boat, even though there were no fish, and the net was so full of fish that they struggled to bring it to shore! When St. Peter needed to pay taxes to avoid offending Caesar, Jesus showed him where to miraculously find the needed coin. Jesus is not limited, and he loves us. He is able to provide for us everything.
Everything we can want, God already gave us something far better: His own Son! But that doesn’t mean he won’t give us those other things we need. As St. Paul says, “He who gave us His own Son, will he not give us all things also?” St. Alphonsus de Liguori explains this as meaning that all creation is infinitely less than Jesus, and God the Father gave us Jesus, so how could we imagine he will withhold anything in creation that would be good for us? No, he will give us anything and everything we need!
And not just our needs, but even our wants! At the suggestion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus gave the people at the wedding feast more wine! Wine is not necessary for life, and St. John the Baptist went his whole life without tasting even a drop of it. But where Jesus was, and where they ran out, Jesus gave them more! He wants us to be happy.
But he knows what’s truly good for us, and what will truly make us happy. We don’t. When we were young kids, we thought that eating a hundred chocolate bars would be the best thing in the world. Now we know that even eating a dozen would give us a bad stomach ache and we might even get sick from it. We don’t always know what would make us happy. We only have ideas of what would.
But God knows what’s best for us. His ways are always perfect. That’s why all generations have and will call the Blessed Virgin Mary “blessed” which means happy: because she only did things God’s way, and it made her the happiest person that God ever did or will create.
Sin can never make us happy. From the beginning of creation, the temptation of man was that this or that sin will make us happy, starting with the apple in the Garden of Eden. But it’s always a lie, and always comes from the father of lies, who cannot even promise us a minute of life, and whose only goal us our death and unhappiness.
We must believe this. We must believe the Truth: that Jesus is the Way to have a happy Life. We must follow him, Love him, and do whatever he commands. Only then will we be truly happy, truly blessed by God, the source of all happiness, the Living Spring of Water that wells up inside us to eternal life, if we have it. We must wait until the birthing pains of temptation are over, and the Morning Star rises in our hearts. Then we will be truly happy.