St. Francis de Sales gave practical advice on fighting great and small temptations. To encourage the tempted soul, the saint wrote, “Come what may in the shape of temptation, attended by whatsoever of delectation, so long as your will refuses consent, not merely to the temptation itself, but also to the delectation, you need have no fear, God is not offended.”
Remedies for temptations
Regarding great temptations the saint wrote, “Whenever you feel the approach of temptation, do as our little children when they see a wolf or a bear in the mountains. Forthwith they run to the protection of their father or mother, or at least cry out for help.
“Do you fly in like manner to God, claiming His compassion and succour: it is the remedy taught us by Our Lord Himself: ‘Pray that ye enter not into temptation.'”
“So long as the temptation lasts, do you persist in making acts of non-consent. But while making these acts and these protests, do not fix your eyes on the temptation, look solely on Our Lord, for if you dwell on the temptation, especially when it is strong, your courage may be shaken.
“Divert your mind with any right and healthy occupation, for if that takes possession and fills your thoughts, it will drive away temptation and evil imaginings.”
“One great remedy against all manner of temptation, great or small, is to open the heart and lay bare its suggestions, likings, and dislikings, to your director; for, as you may observe, the first condition which the evil one makes with a soul, when he wants to seduce it, is silence, even as a bad man, seeking to seduce a woman, enjoins silence concerning himself to her father or husband, whereas God would always have us make known all His inspirations to our superiors and guides.”
St. Francis compared trifling temptations (such as vanity, suspicion, vexation, jealousy, and envy) with flies. We should simply drive them away and do not pay too much attention to them. We should make acts of love of God. Since the love of God includes the perfection of all virtues, it is a sovereign remedy against all vices.
Strengthen the heart
St. Francis urges us to examine from time to time what passions predominate in our soul, and strive to act against those passions. In time of peace, we should strive to practice the opposite virtues.
The saint explains, “For instance, if you know that you are disposed to be vain, reflect often upon the emptiness of this earthly life, call to mind how burdensome all mere earthly vanities will be to the conscience at the hour of death.”
“If you are given to avarice, think often of the folly of this sin, which makes us the slave of what was made only to serve us; remember how when we die we must leave all we possess to those who come after us, who may squander it, ruin their own souls by misusing it, and so forth.”
“If you have a tendency to trifle with the affections, often call to mind what a dangerous amusement it is for yourself and others; how unworthy a thing it is to use the noblest feelings of the heart as a mere pastime; and how readily such trifling becomes mere levity.
“Let your conversation turn on purity and simplicity of heart, and strive to frame your actions accordingly, avoiding all that savours of affectation or flirting.”
“Blessed is anyone who perseveres when trials come. Such a person is of proven worth and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (Jas 1:12).
譬如，你很容易自負，便多想現世的空泛，虛榮的負累，生命終結時，更感良心百上加斤… 又譬如你常有貪婪之心，便多想這是多麼愚蠢的事，令我們反而變成物質的奴隸，臨終時會發覺所擁有的，都變得毫無用處，維恐靈魂被其摧毀… 如果你容易陷於情慾，你要常警覺，那是靈魂的殺手，把內心的尊貴沉淪，跌入短暫的虛幻浮誇。你要謹口慎言，用純潔謙和去管束行為舉止，躲避慾欲風情。