Surely we can stand just a little evil. Not so, says St. Cyril of Alexandria. Judas began simply by tolerating a few whispered suggestions from Satan; he ended up with Satan as master of his whole heart. This is why Judas the traitor was not dismayed at rebukes spoken as yet quietly and secretly, nor did he even regard the invincible might of love, nor honor and glory and grace, nor the gift that he received from Christ. But hurrying… Read more

Temptations and trials do us good, says St. Ephrem the Syrian. Easy living makes us forget God, but difficulties strengthen us. To those who are just and upright, temptations become helps. Job, a man of discernment, was victorious in temptations. Sickness came on him, and he did not complain; disease afflicted him and he did not murmur; his body failed and his strength departed, but his will was not weakened. He proved perfect in all by sufferings, because temptations did… Read more

This week Scott Hahn shares insight into two of his most recent books. The Fourth Cup: Unveiling the Mystery of the Last Supper and the Cross takes a look at the often obscure and unknown rituals of the Passover and how the Last Supper foreshadowed the passion of Jesus Christ. Scott also weaves in how research into this impacted his journey to the Catholic faith. In The First Society: The Sacrament of Matrimony and the Restoration of the Social Order Scott explores how the sacrament… Read more

No temptation is irresistible, says Origen. No matter what the allurement, your will can resist it—if you strengthen it by exercising virtue. If anyone says that the outward world is made in such a way that one cannot resist it, let him study his own feelings and movements, and see whether there are not some plausible motives to account for his approval and assent, and the inclination of his reason to a particular object. To take an illustration, suppose a… Read more

St. John Cassian shares the wise advice of Abbot Serapion in Egypt: sometimes you can make use of one of your vices to combat a worse one. If you’re vain, think how much people will admire you for overcoming lust! But in one matter we find vanity to be a useful thing for beginners—by which I mean those who are still troubled by carnal sins. If (for example) they are troubled by the spirit of fornication, they could form an… Read more

No matter how strong your defenses against the worst vices, says St. John Cas­sian, opening the gate for one lets them all in. It is impossible that the fiery motions of the body can be extinguished before the incentives of the other chief vices are utterly rooted out. For you will never feel sure that someone can strive against the opposition of a stronger enemy, if you have seen him overcome by weaker ones in a higher conflict. The nature… Read more

Envy is listed among the deadly sins for a good reason. As St. Cyprian tells us, envy just keeps gnawing at us unless we get rid of it. There will always be people who have more than we have; we need to learn to rejoice with them rather than envy them. The way we do that is by turning to Christ. What a gnawing worm of the soul it is—to envy someone for his virtue or for his happiness; to… Read more

Commodianus tells us that all our wars and fights come from our evil desires. If we want a glorious victory, we should overcome our passions. You wish to wage war, you fool, as if war were peace. From the beginning of the day to the end, you fight. Lust gets you started, and there is war. Fight your lust. Luxury persuades you. Forget about it, and you win the war. Do not drink too much wine, so that it will… Read more

St. Jerome was known for his hot temper and for some reason—we don’t know why—had not been on speaking terms with his own aunt for a long time. Here he writes her a letter begging for a reconciliation, remembering that he will be judged if he cannot forgive his old grudges. The Apostle and evangelist John rightly says that “any one who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). For since hate often leads to murder, the one… Read more

When someone who hates you is in trouble, says St. Ephrem the Syrian, you should be in pain and mourning. Otherwise you fall into secret sin—and there will come a time when all secret sins are laid bare. You must not slander anyone, or that person may call you “Satan.” Do you hate the name? Then do not go near the act. But if you love the act, do not be angry at the name. Count yourself rebuked first of… Read more

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