THOSE WHO SIN ON SUDDEN
Those who sin on sudden
impulse must be admonished to protect their hearts with anxious
fear. They are to have a horror of the hidden darts of the
enemy lurking in ambush. Their minds must be a fortress of
vigilance in this dark conflict. They must protect themselves
with the breastplate of circumspection and forethought.
They should not be
over-attached to earthly things because through these things are the
darts of sins hidden.
A mind sleeps when it is
beaten and feels no pain, when it does not foresee impending evils
and is unaware of those which it has committed. It is
attracted to vice and yet puts no defense against them. It is
sleepy when it pertains to the things of God and is awake to the
cares of the world. "And thou shalt be as one sleeping in the
midst of the sea." He is in the midst of temptation and
neglects to provide defenses against the attacks of vices. He
is like a sailor who has lost his rudder; he fails to direct himself
to the right port.
"Every man's sword upon
his thigh because of the fears of the night," i.e. holy men
being in fear of what they do not see are always ready to engage in
a struggle. "Thy nose is as the tower of Libanus." The
nose sees in the dark while the other senses are unable to see.
So the nose is the discernment of the Church. It is on high
because it perceives the attacks of temptations even before they
come and stand fortified against them even before they come.
The enemy is weakened when its advance is perceived beforehand.
St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral
Care, Chapter 32, Part III