A Short Struggle; An Everlasting Prize
The Imitation of The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Let It Not Be Enough For Thee To Repulse Satan; Strive, Also, To Injure Him.
1. The Voice of Jesus
My Child, hast thou fallen into sin? Do not again give thyself up to it; but so guard against the future as not to return to the past.
When the demon has been expelled from a heart, he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and, returning, attempts to enter again. If man does not resist, the enemies enter, and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.
If, therefore, thou desire not to become the prey of hell, thou must, by all means, resist the temptations of the devil.
Do not be afflicted nor sad, My Child, because thou art assailed, against thy will, by various temptations; be rather rejoiced and consoled. For it is a sign that thou art in the state of grace, and that thou followest My standard.
If thou didst adhere to the devil, he would surely not attack what is his own; but because thou standest by Me, therefore does he tempt thee, and endeavor to draw thee over to his ranks.
2. The crown of Life
My Child, temptation is not prevarication; yea, so long as it is displeasing to thee, it is meritorious of a divine reward.
Therefore, however loathsome the things which the enemy may suggest, be not uneasy; however violently he may entice thee to evil, think not that thou art forsaken by Me.
Never am I nearer to thee, or more ready to help thee, than when thou sufferest under these trials.
When thou art tempted, Child, I stand by, looking on the struggle, and helping thee, that, being thus encouraged and aided, thou mayst not only withstand the foe, but gloriously triumph over him.
Be therefore, ready for the combat: no one shall be crowned, unless he has struggled lawfully; and he that shall overcome, shall receive the crown of life.
3. Be well armed
As thou dwellest among enemies to the right and to the left, and art exposed to their assaults from within and from without; thou oughtest to be so well armed, at all times, that they can never find thee defenseless.
Have thy heart lifted up and united to Mine, with a determined and generous resolve, to endure all things, yea, even to die in the struggle, rather than turn thy back upon Me. Otherwise thou shalt not be able fully to withstand the stubbornness of the contest.
4. Defend thyself with humility
In this warfare, two kinds of weapons are necessary to thee: the one, defensive, the other, offensive.
Humility will furnish thee weapons to defend thyself. By means of this virtue, place no reliance upon thyself, put all thy trust in Me: and, being convinced of thy own frailty, shun, as much as thou art able, all dangerous occasions.
For it were an inexcusable, and most shameful presumption, to seek them, or to go to meet them, especially if they are of the flesh.
5. Pray amid temptation
If, nevertheless, the foe assails, call upon Me, rely upon My help, confidingly and lovingly.
He that prays amid temptation, as he ought, cannot be overcome; but he that neglects prayer, is usually vanquished.
Resist generously from the very beginning of the temptation, and pray fervently in this, or a similar manner: 0, Jesus! hide me within Thy Heart, that I may not be separated from Thee. . . 0, God! my God! come to my assistance. . . Jesus and Mary! make haste to help me. . . I will rather die, O Lord, than commit sin.
If the enemy continue to tempt, faithfully withdraw thy mind from the object of the temptation; and, having earnestly turned it to other things, either good or indifferent, persevere in prayer; persevere in thus resisting, not with anxiety or impatience, but calmly and steadily: and the foe shall either flee away, or stand abashed.
6. Overcome temptations
Let it not be enough for thee to repulse Satan; strive, also, to injure him. This thou canst do, if, by means of the weapons which divine love will furnish thee, thou turn the temptations of the enemy against himself.
As often, therefore, as the demon tempts thee, so often use temptation against his aim and object, that thou mayst unite thyself more closely with Me; glorify Me by thy faithfulness, and acquire for thyself greater strength and merit.
So it shall come to pass, that thy adversary, frightened by his defeat, either dares not return, or, if he dares, will secure for thee a more signal victory, and a brighter crown.
7. The struggle is short, but the prize everlasting
But, if ever thou be so unfortunate as to fall, arise without delay; fight with more humility and courage; and beware, above all, lest thou surrender and make thyself a slave to the foe.
Many have been lost, because, after having fought bravely, when they were on the point of gaining the victory, cast down by the troublesomeness of the temptation, they surrendered disgracefully, and perished miserably.
Up then, My Child; the struggle is short, but the prize everlasting.
Be magnanimous: courage is a great part of the victory. It prepares thee for grace; it raises the heart, increases strength, moderates labor, frightens and weakens the enemy.
For Me, thy God and Savior, for thy salvation, for an everlasting crown, for the very Kingdom of heaven, fight thou bravely, and display a sight worthy of God, of the Angels, and of men.
8. The voice of the Disciple
Thanks to Thee, most benign Jesus, who thus teachest my hands to fight and my fingers to war.
Behold, Thou also cheerest up my heart, and givest me courage, so that I am ready to put forth my strength, and to act valiantly.
But, I know and confess, that of myself I am weak and cowardly: if I am left to myself alone, if I rely upon myself alone, what can be looked for, except that I shall shamefully fall away from Thee and perish ignobly?
Give me grace, I entreat Thee, that I may not presume on myself; that, of my own accord, I may not expose myself; but that I may, with prudence, shun every occasion of falling, and, by watchfulness, escape all the snares of my foes.
And at what time Thou shalt see me attacked by the enemy, or engaged with him, do Thou arise, I beseech Thee, hasten to my assistance; because Thou, Lord, art my strength.
Be Thou near me, I pray: set me beside Thee, and let any man s hand fight against me; with Thee I will conquer, with Thee I will triumph.
“Voice of Jesus” is taken from Arnoudt’s “Imitation of the Sacred Heart”, translated from the Latin of J.M. Fastre; Benziger Bros. Copyright 1866