Holding On To The Fires Within

Holding On To The Fires Within March 29, 2016


The Lure Of The Mind Fighting Against The Lure Of The Members – Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

No news flash here: we are driven by our compulsions.

We constantly act upon urges to acquire, possess, and cling to the pleasures of the mind (such as knowledge and truth), the body (such as food and sex), and the things of this world (such as money and security).

Of course, none of these God-implanted compulsions are problematic, in and of themselves. In fact, each plays some role in our human and spiritual advancement as we come to discover and learn about ourselves, our relationships, and our Creator.

But when these compulsions become somehow dis-ordered – when the urge to be, to do, or to have, takes control – we begin to engage in idol worship.

And we lose our balance, if not our way.

Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, greed, theft – these are the results of urges unrestrained, compulsions that we have let control us.

They compel our attention inward, into the raging flames, instead of upward, into the gleaming light.

So what fires burning within are you holding on to?

I have my own.

They constantly provoke me during the day. They even invade my sleep at night.

I am in constant war – one that, sometimes, I fear I am losing.

Padre Pio had some encouraging words for those of us in the midst of our battles – and they stand as a good reminder that our compulsions alone do not define us:

Stop entertaining those vain fears.

Remember it is not feeling which constitutes guilt but the consent to such feelings.

Only the free will is capable of good or evil.

But when the will sighs under the trial of the tempter and does not will what is presented to it, there is not only no fault but there is virtue.  


That seems to be the key.

Once we come to fully grasp that, we have one additional weapon in our arsenal.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen gave a televised lecture on temptation – embedded below, and in part upon which this post relies – way back in the 1950s, but it’s still very relevant today.

Notably, he observes two very important things: 1) we are never tempted beyond our strength, and 2) the stronger we are, the greater we are likely to be tempted.

As for me, I’m still testing those two observations.

Or should I say, more appropriately, that they are still testing me?

So here’s the dual choice as I see it, either one of which requires our full consent:

Holding On To The Fires Within, Or Letting Go For The Light Above.

Someday, I just might get the hang of this.



Image Credit: Pixabay.com

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