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Question

Good morning Father

I read your answer to the previous published question with great interest with regard to the believer who had asked you the question, thanks to my wife who let me know about your online page, where one can find answers to many questions; and so I did, looking for the answer to my concern about what is happening to me in this time.

Despite the COVID-19 emergency, thanks to the kind of job that I have, I was able to keep running my business from home and without any kind of difficulty; indeed, the situation turned favourable to me in giving me the opportunity for self-examination, something that had never happened before in my life.

Thanks again to my devout Christian wife, I started listening to catechesis and reading the Gospel, but keeping a measure of scepticism and superficiality, even though I continued and persevered in listening, until one day I fell into a great crisis that pushed me to go to Confession. Since then I have been living every day in pain and suffering, assailed by filthy thoughts, indecent and offensive images, blasphemies against the Lord, Jesus Christ, and Most Holy Mary. I am diligent in prayer, but there are few respites and I can only find comfort in sleep, even though sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and hear in the distance noises like the barking of dogs, and they seem to blaspheme too; I am quite influenced by this and very worried, but in fact I am holding on to anything that can help me and asking the Lord for mercy. Sometimes I cry while I ask the Lord to humble me for all the evil and sins of my life. But the day is long and full of pitfalls which are difficult to confront. One evening I confided to my wife about my falling into thoughts of explicit blasphemy that obviously I had never had before in my life, and my wife replied: Welcome! And from that she explained to me that this is all but normal when a soul is touched by the Lord and repents (hence my reading of your published answer). Since a few days ago, the blasphemies have been less frequent, but worse thoughts have come, even more during my prayer they are indecent, sexual offences to the Lord Jesus and the Most Holy Mother. I reckoned that the enemy would manifest itself in different ways, but not that it would come in this way against those who, like me, having evidently ignored God throughout their life, today become aware and beg for the gift of faith.

Thank you Father for your answer

Martino


Answer from the priest

Dear Martino,

1. I am not surprised by this bombardment of dirty and blasphemous thoughts right from the time you decided to reclaim a life of faith.

It is a fairly common phenomenon for many new converts.

Sometimes because of a special permission from God and for a further purification some saints (such as Saint Catherine of Siena) have also passed through this crucible.

Try reading here: Various ways in which the devil can contaminate our prayer and…

2. Do not be discouraged in the face of a battle that appears so incessant and impetuous.

Through freedom, you are always able to resist such temptations and, by resisting, you win and gain merit.

Without your noticing, this battle strengthens you.

And if your adversaries intend to lead you back to them and make you lose your peace, in fact they have the opposite effect because every temptation is for you a reason for new victory and renewed allegiance to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary.

3. As you can see, it seems weird, but it is because of a plan borne out of God’s benevolence that all of this is allowed to happen.

On the other hand, demons cannot act on their own initiative if this is not allowed to them by the Lord.

They can do absolutely nothing outside the boundaries of divine permission. They are God’s creatures – though not in their acquired evil will – and are in need of God’s help for everything.

This is why God says to St. Catherine of Siena: “The demons are therefore my ministers in tormenting the damned ones in hell and in training and testing the virtue of man in this life.

The devil’s intention is not to test and toughen your virtue, because in him there is no charity, but it is to deprive you of virtue: but he cannot do this if you do not want to.

Great is therefore the folly of the man who makes himself weak where I have made him strong and of his own accord puts himself in the hands of the devil” (Dialogue, 43).

4. He tells her again: “In this life I allow the demons to tempt and harass my creatures not so that they are overcome, but so that they may win and receive from me the glory of victory, proving their virtue.

On the other hand, no one should fear, whatever the battles and temptations that come from the devil, because I have made men strong and I have given them the strength of the will by fortifying it in the blood of my Son. This volition, neither devil nor any creature can change in you because it is yours, given to you by me together with free will.

You, therefore, by your own free will can hold it firmly in your possession, or leave it as you please. If you place it in the hands of the devil, it is the weapon and the knife with which he strikes and kills you; but if man does not give this knife of the will into the hands of the devil, that is, if he does not consent to his temptations and harassments, he will never be hurt by the guilt of sin whatever temptation he suffers. Indeed, he will become strengthened by it if he will open the eye of the intellect to contemplate my charity, which allows you to be tempted only to make you reach virtue and experience it in yourselves” (Ib.).

5. In this sense, I understand the words your wife said to you when you revealed to her your state of mind: Welcome!

St. Catherine teaches us to receive temptations by saying: “You are very welcome“, and “receive them as you would a dear friend, because they are the cause and instrument of making us wake from the sleep of negligence and leading us to become virtuous” (Letter 335 To Father Cristofano, monk of Certosa in the monastery of Santo Martino in Naples).

6. And a little further on, St. Catherine says: “Therefore I no longer want in yourselves confusion, sadness, or attachment to your own will: but a great joy and sweet fire of love, and the light of the Holy Spirit, with a manly and not fearful heart, dressed in the sweet and eternal will of God, which has allowed and permits every pain you suffer, both corporal and mental, out of a special love for you and not out of hatred.

Come on then with the weapons of holy prayer and holy thoughts, rooted in the sweet and eternal will of God.

With these weapons we defeat the devil, and with thought we drive thought away, that is with the thoughts from God we drive out those from the devil” (Ib.).

7. “Therefore, the blows of temptation are not to be feared, but we are to be delighted to be always in battle as long as we live. If we saw how great the fruit of the battle is, there would be no one who would not look forward to it with desire. Whoever has no battle has no victory; and whoever has no victory remains confused.

Do you know how much good comes from being in battle?

In battle, man has a way to get himself out of negligence and be more careful to use his time well and not be idle; and in particular to devote himself to the practice of holy prayer, with which he humbly appeals to God, seeing in him his only strength and asking him for help.

And he also has a way to know the weakness and fragility and the inclination to evil of his own passion of the senses, and for this he conceives hatred of pride and with true humility he despises himself, considering himself worthy of the pains and unworthy of the fruit that is borne out of the pains.

And he also knows the goodness of God by seeing that the good will not to allow evil comes from God, and therefore he conceives love and gratitude towards this goodness, because he recognizes himself and feels himself preserved by him in good will” (Letter 169 To Father Nicoloso di Francia monk of Certosa in the monastery of Belriguardo).

Therefore, together with St. Catherine I also tell you to go forward with a manly and not fearful heart, because in this fight you are making great gains.

I assure you of my prayers for this and I bless you.

Father Angelo