The devil loves it when we get all emotional, says St. Ambrose. That means we’re not thinking clearly. Then he can set his little traps for us, and we jump right in.
When he sees passions stirred up in us, that’s when the Enemy especially lays his plans. Then he brings tinder; then he sets traps. The Enemy’s trap is our speech—but that itself is also just as much our enemy. Too often we say something that our opponent takes hold of and wounds us with, as though by our own sword. How much better it is to die by someone else’s sword than by our own!
Thus the Enemy tests our arms and clashes his weapons together. If he sees that I am disturbed, he plants the points of his darts in me to raise a crop of quarrels. If I speak an inappropriate word, he sets his trap. Then he puts down his bait: a chance for revenge—so that, because I want to be revenged, I put myself in the trap, and pull the death-knot tighter around myself.
If you feel this enemy near, pay more attention to your mouth, or you’ll make room for the Enemy. But not many see him.
–St. Ambrose, On the Duties of the Clergy, 1.15-16IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
How many times today have I allowed my feelings to run away with me?
What harm have I done by falling into those traps?
Lord, deliver me from all wrath, and send me the things that are good and proper for my soul.
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