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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






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