Whenever Satan attacks us, says St. Cyril of Alexandria, he does it at our weakest point. Whatever temptation we’re most likely to give in to, that’s where Satan musters all his forces.
By searching the inspired Scripture thoroughly, we shall find this to be a usual habit, as we may say, of the evil one. At the beginning, he opens his attack by trying the hearts of those who worship God, first of all sowing the seed of evil questionings, and inciting us with the bait of paltry pleasures to false steps of various kinds. And above all, he most violently assaults us at any point where he sees we have already suffered and been vanquished before. For he always somehow uses our own weakness as an ally to his wicked devices, and employs again the passion that previously injured our soul.
Thus, for example, he harasses one man perhaps with violent assaults through the senses that become the most depraved incentives to fleshly pleasures; whereas in the case of another who is overcome by base gains, to make a profit of unholy wealth seems somehow held up to honor as the best thing possible.
A skilled general, when laying siege to a city, hastens with all speed and by every device to attack the weakened parts of the wall, ordering his battering-engines to be brought into action there, knowing very well that in those quarters the capture will be easy. Satan, when intending to lay siege to a human soul, sets to work at its weakest part, thinking that he will by this means bring it into easy subjection—especially when he sees it receiving no assistance from those helps by which it is likely the passion would be defeated, such as noble emotions, provocations to manly courage, suggestions to devotion, and the mystic Eucharist. For this most of all is effective as an antidote to the murderous poison of the devil.–St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, 13:27
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Which temptations are my very weakest points?
What am I doing to be on my guard against attack in those quarters?
Lord, you have given us the power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and on all the power of the Enemy. Grant that I may find a way to resist temptation.
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