Thursday 18th December 2014

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Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

November 10, 2013 repository No Comments

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941

Why Does God allow us to be tempted?

God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost.

“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent bear it away’’(Matt. 11,12). We have to earn heaven and one of the ways of earning it is by way of overcoming temptation. If the temptations are against charity or chastity or humility or justice or obedience or any other virtue they are all equal opportunities for gaining merit and of assuring ourselves a higher place in heaven.

A temptation is not a sin. It is an invitation to sin. It may be a bad thought just arisen in the mind, or an evil desire just awakening in the soul, or an inclination to do something wrong first felt in the senses. All this is not sin. It is an invitation to think deliberately, to desire willingly, to enjoy fully, that which we know to be wrong.

Only he who accepts the invitation involved in these things after he is conscious of their sinfulness changes a temptation into a sin. No sought can ever be a sin.

To gain merit from temptation it is necessary to bear in mind only two simple rules. First, as soon as the temptation is recognized, make an act of the will rejecting the evil offered. This can best be done by a positive act of Love of God or of any little prayer. Mere utterance of the holy names of Jesus and Mary is usually proof that the temptation has been rejected by the will. Secondly, place the external faculties under control, that is, insist that they take no part in answering the invitation to sin. If these two conditions are fulfilled, temptations, no matter how violent or prolonged they may be, can never become sins. With God’s grace, we can easily overcome any and all temptations. “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12,9) and that grace may be had for the asking. “Ask and it shall be given you’’ (Luke 11,9).

Will the world war destroy religion?

The world war will affect the Catholic Church indeed, but it will not destroy it for the reason that the Catholic Church has within it the indestructible spirit of God. That Spirit of God has enabled it to survive other and even worse storms in its long history of nearly two thousand years.

In this reeling world of revolutionary changes the Church alone stands stable and unshaken. In the midst of permutation it alone is permanent. In an age of doubt it alone is sure. The mists of ages hang over it and yet it alone faces the future with all the energy and vitality of youth. It labors in every land; it is the self-same everywhere.

The Church speaks to all peoples in their own tongues. It moves as easily in the forest of central Africa as it does in the cultured centers of civilization. In the thrones of war it seeks only peace but it confronts war and peace with equal energy and resolution. It has no guns or airplanes, no tanks or

armored cars, and yet it will live long after the nations great in battle are gone. For its life is the life of the Spirit of God which cannot die nor suffer destruction.

Name the Apostles.

The Bible answers your question thus: “And the names of the twelve Apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, James (the Greater), the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, Phillip and Bartholomew (Nathanael), Thomas and Matthew the Publican, and James (the Lesser), the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus (Jude), Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him’’ (Matt. 10,2).

After the ascension of our Lord, Matthias was chosen to fill the place made vacant by the treason of Judas (cf. Acts 1, 26). Following his conversion, Saul, who was afterwards called Paul, was made an apostle by direct call from God (cf. 2, Cor. 1, 1). In the Roman missal, Barnabas is also termed an apostle because he also had an immediate mission from God (cf. Acts 13, 2).

Thaddeus (Jude) and James (the Lesser) were brothers. They were distant relatives of our Lord. James (the Lesser) is sometimes called the brother of our Lord, though he was only a cousin. In the Aramaic language the same word means brother and cousin. Peter, James (the Greater), and John were distinguished and privileged by the Lord above other Apostles. They were permitted to remain with Him when He raised the daughter of Jairus to life, again at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and finally during his agony in the Garden.

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