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 man to have made up his mind to exercise self-control and refrain from sexual intercourse, and then let a woman come upon the scene and solicit him to act contrary to his resolution. She is not cause sufficient to make him break his resolution. It is just because he likes the luxury and softness of the pleasure, and is unwilling to resist it, or stand firm in his determination, that he indulges in the licentious practice. On the contrary, the same thing may happen to a man of greater knowledge and better disciplined: he will not escape the sensations and incitements, but his reason—because it is strengthened and nourished by exercise, and has firm convictions on the side of virtue, or is near to having them—stops the excitements short and gradually weakens the lust. –Origen, Philocalia, 21.2
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Just in the past day, which of my failings have I made excuses for—either to other people or to myself ?
Father, may all the beauties and attractions of this ever-changing world serve only to bring me closer to your Kingdom.
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