holy quotations for purification of the soul
for reflection and meditation
'Alas, how we are to be pitied if we are not fiercely harried by the Devil! According to all appearances, we are the friends of the Devil: he lets us live in a false peace, he lulls us to sleep under the pretence that we have said some good prayers, given some alms, that we have done less harm than others. According to our standard, my dear brethren, if you were to ask, for instance, this pillar of the cabaret if the Devil tempted him, he would answer quite simply that nothing was bothering him at all. Ask this young girl, this daughter of vanity, what her struggles are like, and she will tell you laughingly that she has none at all, that she does not even know what it is to be tempted. There you see, my dear brethren, the most terrifying temptation of all, which is not to be tempted.
There you see the state of those whom the Devil is preserving for Hell. If I dared, I would tell you that he takes good care not to tempt or torment such people about their past lives, lest their eyes be opened to their sins.
The greatest of all evils is not to be tempted because there are then grounds for believing that the Devil looks upon us as his property and that he is only awaiting our deaths to drag us into Hell. Nothing could be easier to understand. Just consider the Christian who is trying, even in a small way, to save his soul.
Everything around him inclines him to evil; he can hardly lift his eyes without being tempted, in spite of all his prayers and penances. And yet a hardened sinner, who for the past twenty years has been wallowing in sin, will tell you that he is not tempted! So much the worse, my friend, so much the worse! That is precisely what should make you tremble -- that you do not know what temptations are. For to say that you are not tempted is like saying the Devil no longer exists or that he has lost all his rage against Christian souls. "If you have no temptations," St. Gregory tells us, "it is because the devils are your friends, your leaders, and your shepherds. And by allowing you to pass your poor life tranquilly, to the end of your days, they will drag you down into the depths." St. Augustine tells us that the greatest temptation is not to have temptations because this means that one is a person who has been rejected, abandoned by God, and left entirely in the grip of one's own passions.'
St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars
'The demons fight against you? They do not fight against us at all as long as we are doing our own will. For our own wills become the demons, and it is these which attack us in order that we may fulfil them. But if you want to see who the demons really fight against, it is against Moses and those who are like him.'
'For when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding. . . For the unclean spirit enters easily into a man, and easily goes out from him. For as often as a man, either in thought or in action, does something that is wicked, the devil is present with him. But should he begin to repent from his heart, the devil will leave him. And going out he walks through dry and waterless places, tempting those that are free of the sap of malice and of lust, and in whom he finds no rest; since he seeks what is corrupt and moist. And for this was it written of him: He sleepeth under the shadow, in the covert of the reed, and in moist places (Job xl. 16); in which reference the genitals are signified. Then he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. Because he could find no foothold in the good he turns back to the wicked. For the devil may tempt the good, but he cannot find rest in them; for he is shaken violently, and upset, and driven out, now by their prayers, now by their tears of repentance, and now by their almsgiving and similar good works.'
'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you.'