St. John Cassian remembers the words of the wise Abbot Theodore in the Egyptian desert. No one can make you sin, says Theodore—not even the devil. Only you have the power to consent to sin, or to reject it.
Let us now carefully consider whether God ever allows evil to be forced on his saints either by himself or by some one else.
And you will certainly find that this never happens. For another can never possibly force the evil of sin upon anyone who does not consent and who resists, but only on someone who admits it into himself through sloth and the corrupt desire of his heart.
When the devil had finally exhausted all his wicked devices trying to force upon the blessed Job this evil of sin—when he had not only stripped him of all his worldly goods, but also after that terrible and utterly unexpected calamity of bereavement through the death of his seven children, had heaped upon him dreadful wounds and intolerable tortures from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot—he tried in vain to make the stain of sin stick to him, because Job remained steadfast through it all, and never brought himself to consent to blasphemy.–St. John Cassian, Conferences, 6.4
IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Am I tempted to blame circumstances, or even Satan, for my sins?
Lord, I confess that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.
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