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His first assaults are violent; resist that and his second will be weaker; that being resisted, he proves a coward. 

Christ has left the devil and his hammer broken and bruised. If Christ has left him any strength at all, it is not to tempt so much as to exercise us. 

When the impious King Antiochus entered the temple of Jerusalem to lay it waste, his first act was to remove the golden altar and the golden candlestick. Satan acts in the same manner when he intends to deprive of spiritual good that soul which is the temple of the living God; he takes from it the altar that is the fervor of mind. Then he removes from it the candlestick that is the light which makes known the eternal maxims, knowledge of the commands of Christ. 

Satan cannot take from the soul the light of faith. He, however, removes the light of consideration, so that the soul may not reflect on what it believes; and as it is of no avail to open the eyes in the dark, "So," says St. Augustine, "it is of no advantage to be near the light if the eyes are closed." 

The eternal maxims, the commands of Christ, considered in the light of faith, are most clear. Yet if we do not open the eyes of the mind by meditating on them, we live as if we were perfectly blind, and so precipitate ourselves into every vice. 


St. Ignatius







(updated 03-14-02)


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