Thursday, June 6, 2013

Three Big Fights: The Flesh

St. John gives us three great enemies of the soul: the world, the flesh and the devil.  It is, therefore, always a good idea to know how to challenge these great adversaries.  Here's a tip:

The flesh: the seductive enticer
Ah, yes.  We have come to the most alluring of tempters.  The flesh grabs us through carnal pleasures and delights.  Two Capital Sins fueled by the flesh are Lust and Gluttony.  Lust fosters in us a spiritual blindness or a blindness of mind and Gluttony gives us a spiritual dullness or a dullness of sense.  We begin to neglect prayer and our spiritual life, faith is pushed aside and we wake up ten years down the road not knowing who we've become.

How to Combat
A simple plan.  Every night make a decision to engage in one small sacrifice for the next day (I'd even write it down).  If your struggle is in the area of lust or gluttony then let that be your sacrifice.  "Tomorrow I will not (eat in between meals) (use the internet for anything but e-mail) (eat meat)" or whatever the thing is, and it may have to be all those things.  If already you find yourself able to maintain a state of grace this practice will help you to further your spiritual growth.  Perhaps you forgo sugar in your coffee, or promise to say an extra rosary, cook dinner for the family or something along these lines.  Whatever it is make the decision the night before and stick to it, and do it every night.  Remember little things are easier kept, big things easier rationalized away.

The Moral
You are master over yourself.  The temptations of the flesh are strong and (important!) they keep company with one another.  As we begin to make our decisions based on reason and right living, their influence weakens and their allurement becomes amazingly unattractive.  Remember, enjoying carnal pleasures appropriately is one-hundred percent more pleasureful and pleasing than engaging them sinfully.  That's a promise.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
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