struggling to escape temptation

1024px-joos_van_craesbeeck_-the_temptation_of_st_anthony
The Temptation of St AnthonyJoos van Craesbeeck, c.1650 via Wikimedia Commons

I’m at the end of my tether, Lord.
I am shattered,
I am broken.
Since this morning I have been struggling to escape temptation,
   which, now subtle, now persuasive, now tender, now sensuous,
   dances before me like a glamour girl at a fair.
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t know where to go.
It spies on me, follows me, engulfs me.
When I leave a room I find it seated and waiting for me in the next.
When I seize a newspaper, there it is,
   hidden in the words of a harmless story;
I go out, and see it smiling at me on an unknown face,
I turn away and look at the wall, and it leaps at me from a poster.
I return to work, to find it dozing on my files,
   and when I gather my papers, it awakens.
In despair, I take my poor head in my hands,
   I shut my eyes to see nothing.
But I discover that it is more alive than ever,
   comfortably settled within me.
For it has broken my door open, it has slipped into my body,
   my veins,
   to the very tips of my fingers.
It has seeped into the crevices of my memory
And sings into the ear of my imagination.
It plays on my nerves as on the strings of a guitar.
I don’t know where I stand, Lord.
I don’t know whether or not I want this sin that beckons to me.
I no longer know whether I pursue it or am pursued.
I am dizzy, and the void draws me as it draws the rash mountaineer
   who can neither advance nor retreat.
Lord, Lord, help me!

Michel Quoist, 1918 – 1997, French Catholic priest and writer

________________

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.
And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

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