Cardinal Tettamanzi’s Decalogue Against Temptation (with my reflections)
1. Do not forget that the devil exists.
No matter what the Devil looks like in your head, “the best thing he ever managed was to convince us that he didn’t exist” (CS Lewis). The Devil, and the evil in this world that surrounds such a construct, is wiley enough to take many forms, and many temptations. Temptation to draw away from God is real, and so therefore is the temptation of the Devil. He doesn’t need horns and a tail, but rather is more alluring than that. The most frightening Satan on screen was the one where he was a smartly-dressed, beautiful businessman – for money and beauty are completely tempting…
2. Do not forget that the devil is a tempter.
The purpose of evil is to draw you from the sacred, to supplant your relationship with God with, well, anything. If anything gets in the way of your relationship with God (family, friends, facebook, sex, drugs or rock’n’roll) then you have been lured away by the Tempter. All is not lost, for the God of love and forgiveness will always embrace you
3. Do not forget that the devil is very intelligent and astute.
We have so many weaknesses that evil will find a million ways to subvert you. Be strong. Be wise. Have faith.
4. Be vigilant concerning your eyes and heart. Be strong in spirit and virtue.
Temptation is almost always emotional rather than intellectual, sensuous rather than logical. It is easy to resist things by your intellect, by knowing the difference between right and wrong; but where we are weakest is with our emotional contact with the spiritual. Our response to God is emotive rather than intellectual and that is where the Tempter can start to drive a wedge in. Faith is a response of the heart.
The world, and the internet in particular is filled with opportunities for evil, and plenty of opportunities for good, and the building of the Kingdom. You know which is the right one.
5. Believe firmly in the victory of Christ over the tempter.
“It is completed” was not a cry of defeat, but of triumph. By the Victory of the Cross, Christ has purchased, bought, redeemed us from the slavery of sin. Resurrection is the payback, and eternal life the bonus cheque. It might look like a close call at some times, but in reality, the game is already in the bag, thanks to Jesus Christ, God and Man and Saviour (Icthus)
6. Remember that Christ makes you a participant in His victory.
You are not passive in this. You are called to build the Kingdom in this place. Now. He leads, and you are doing his work here now. Make it good.
7. Listen carefully to the word of God.
Because that way you will understand his plans for you. Read the Scriptures, and apply them, but don’t swallow them whole. The Tempter loves to twist words and ideas and get us hung up on punctuation and meaning that isn’t there (Luke 4:9-12). God is bigger than words in a book. Read. Pray. Listen. Learn and Meditate and the word of God will be like a beacon inside you.
8. Be humble and love mortification yourself
Guilt is the major tool of the Devil. The Tempter will use guilt to chip away at your self-esteem and your knowledge that you are a loved child of God. Churches have in the past let the devil in by playing too heavily on the guilt-thing. God loves you. Do not love yourself more than God, for that is sinful. Put Him first, and you will see your worth. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it. Do not be guilty for anything, for that is one of the snares he sets for you. Face up to your actions, deal with them and know that you will be forgiven if you really want to be.
9. Pray without flagging.
…for that is how you will know you are loved. Prayer is not a one-way diatribe, or a shopping list. It is a dialogue between lovers. God loves you, and prayer is a rich vein of comfort and joy. There are times when it might be hard, but all relationships that are worth it requires a bit of effort at times.
10. Love the Lord your God and offer worship to Him only.
There are so many distractions in the world, and they seek to pull you away from God. Your work in this world, from President of the US to sweeping the streets must always be done as an act of worship offered to him. Whatever you do, do for Him, to build the Kingdom of God in this place, to proclaim liberty and vision, freedom and comfort and to show the way of the Lord (Luke 4:18-20).