On Thorns and Thistles

"And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Even the beautiful and glorious saints of present and days past have been confronted by the wicked snares of the devil where they were tempted by his evil deceit and lies. I recall a story about Saint Benedict where he was visited by Satan disguised as black bird. Soon after a visit from this vile creature the mind of St. Benedict became filled with lustful thoughts about a woman from his past to tempt him to abandon his life of celibacy. St. Benedict was able to escape temptation by throwing himself into a thorn bush, where the thorns although tearing into his skin prevented him from committing a sin of the flesh. St. Benedict knew that it was God who prevented him from surrendering to temptation and allowed him to conquer the wickedness of the devil.
I am sure we all wish that we had a thorn bush to throw ourselves into whenever we were tempted by Satan, whether it be a sin of the flesh or a sin of the tongue. But the reality is that God provides us with our own"thorn bush" to allow ourselves to be saved by His grace. We discover the Truth and expose the devil's lies by embracing and loving with all of our hearts "The Word".  In the Gospel John tells us:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God,"(John 1:1) and And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

Jesus is "The Word", and by accepting His invitation of divine love in the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist we are providing ourselves with the spiritual nourishment that is necessary to fight the temptations of the devil. By receiving the Body and Blood of Christ we have the grace needed to resist temptation and to fully understand that God, Our Father, is the Truth and that Satan cannot take away the Truth that we hold deep in our hearts. 

God can only spare us from falling into the evil pit of despair and deceit and the trap that the devil sets for us by allowing Him to sanctify us through His Word. God provides each one of us with our own "thorn bush" to be able to overcome temptation, but we have to be willing to accept the Word, His beautiful gift of grace to us.


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