April 25, 2011 | Comments
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Greek word for “[do not] lead [us into temptation]” means both do not allow us to enter into temptation and do not let us yield to temptation. “This petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength” (CCC #2846).
He wants us to be free from evil. With the help of the Holy Spirit, although still a challenge, we are able to discern trials from temptation. It is through discernment that we are able to recognize the lie behind a temptation – that which at first may seem to be good and prosperous is a masqueraded sin (CCC #2847).
Doing God’s Will
Part of resisting temptation is focusing on doing God’s will. No one can explain where our hearts should be and what our minds should seek better than Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
So do not worry and say, “What are we to eat?” or “What are we to drink?” or “What are we to wear?” All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.
– Matthew 6:19-21, 24, 31-34
The Power of Prayer in Resisting Temptation
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, so that you may be able to endure it” (CCC #2848). God does not wish to force his goodness on us, but He will give us the grace to recognize temptation and the strength to endure it if we simply ask for it, as we do when we pray, “Do not lead us into temptation.”
“Through regular prayer, the Holy Spirit makes us vigilant to the possibility of temptation,” says Brian Singer-Towns in The Catholic Faith Handbook for Youth. “When you pray, ‘lead us not into temptation,’ you are inviting the Holy Spirit into your heart to awake you and keep watch with you.”
His Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us. It is through the Holy Spirit that God gives us the gifts of discernment and strength. According to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, “In this petition, we entrust ourselves to the Holy Spirit to keep us alert to the dangers of sin and give us the grace to resist temptation.”
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