In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Oh, my sweet Jesus please help me as I compose this letter today writing about the small temptations and venial sins that are the ruin of little souls. Those deplorable sins that in their seeming insignificance slip past our minds. Those venial sins which we have, in our wretchedness, fallen into the habit of committing which such frequency that they have become no longer only temptation but routine to our weak and foolish minds. Those sins which cause You, Our Blessed Lord, so much pain on our behalf due to the ease and willingness by which we commit them. We who so often consider not that every sin which we commit pains Your most Sacred and Blessed Heart. How quickly, my God, we offend you. How much we too hurt our souls when we hurt You. When a member of the body aches, it is the head which genuinely experiences the pain. My God if we could be freed, I beg You my Lord through the intercession of Your Blessed Mother Mary ever Virgin – the Immaculate Conception – if we could – by Your Grace – be but freed from all these small temptations how easily would avoidance of more grievous temptations and sins be for we little slaves of Yours. It is these seemingly insignificant sins – actions which in our having committed them so often no longer seem to us to be truly sins at all – which lead us to grow more depraved in the vileness and offensiveness of our way of life. It is the habitual venial sin which leads to habitual mortal sin. It is these little sins themselves which lead us eventually, oh my God may You prevent it, to turn from You entirely unrepentant and fully embracing a life of vile sin and debauchery. A life spent not in loving and serving You, our Beloved Savior, but instead wasted in the pursuit of worthless worldly goods. We become not much more than depraved beasts spending our lives not doing what You command to be good for our spiritual survival but instead giving into our most wretched and vile temptations. If only we could be kept – by your mercy my Lord – from committing these sins with such ease and regularity, but in our wretched nature we can not help but fall into the clutches of the enemy. Protect us then, my Lord I pray, from ever allowing ourselves to grant entry into our minds even the smallest whispers of Satan. Without Your help, my Lord, we little souls have no hope of entering into Your Kingdom. Indeed, we are powerless to do so as it is by Your grace alone that we are granted entrance into Your Kingdom in Heaven. It is little souls who spend our journey continually tripping over the pebbles of sin who find ourselves calloused and hardened to anything upon the way which does not bring us immediate comfort or some depraved pleasure. It is, perhaps, not every day that we commit these tremendous mortal sins – although we indeed commit these often enough to offend You profoundly and cause You grievous suffering; however, it is these small little sins that we commit so frequently without any thought, without any care, without hardly a concern for the pain they will cause you, and lacking all remorse that genuinely lead us – by our choice to turn away from You so often that to do so becomes habitual – into Hell and the clutches of the enemy, Satan. Keep us then, my Lord I pray, from committing these sins and may You bless us with the wisdom, my God I beg You, to be aware of these little temptations as they arise so that they may not pass unknowingly into our minds and expose themselves through our wretched actions. My God if it be Your Will to make us Saints – that purpose for which You created us – and to have us live in union with Your Holy Will please protect us from not only mortal sin but keep us always vigilant against all venial sins as it is these small temptations to sin which will lead us into certain ruin and ultimately away from You, Our Lord whom alone we should love to be near. Amen.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am writing today on a topic which I have written about already once before; however, it is of such paramount importance that I would like to address this topic once again. For it is indeed these little temptations, these little seemingly insignificant sins – although no sin is truly negligible to Our Most Blessed Lord as His Sacred Heart feels the pain of every offense committed by His servants – which we commit with alarming regularity and thoughtlessness because of the frequency with which we engage them – the ability for wretched creatures such as we to turn depravity into normalcy is shocking – these perhaps small omissions we make of good which we could commit because they seem inconvenient to do so; it is these little sins, my brothers and sisters which lead to our ruin, and which open the doors for us to commit much more heinous and grievous crimes. If we were to protect ourselves from committing even these smallest little sins – fortified by gods grace – how vigilant we would be against those sins which lead us to separation from God, away from the Sacraments, and set us outside of His kingdom.
My brothers and sisters, I implore you to spend your days often searching your conscience to become aware of these tiny little sins which we commit so quickly. It is often that we find ourselves forgoing small devotions which we have kept regularly because the enemy Satan begins to convince us that they are an inconvenience to uphold, of no value, or that we could be spending our time on more materialistically lucrative tasks. Perhaps we would instead go with our friends to dinner on Friday to indulge in the big steak they will be enjoying. Maybe instead of going to Mass on Sunday we would rather be a spectator at a sporting match with our family. Perhaps, instead of attending daily Mass or saying our daily Rosary, we find it more beneficial to spend our lives thinking about that which is worldly and saving God merely for an hour on Sunday at best. Therefore, we in our misery have relegated our God, our Lord and Savior – He who ought to be the fulcrum of our life – to a single day on which we begrudgingly give Him our attention out of a sense of obligation and often not with a trace of Love to be found. He who suffered so much for us, who gave His life so that we may one day live again for eternity with His Father in Heaven, to Him can we not be bothered to offer more than a few measly hours of our time. Yet how easily we give to the enemy, Satan, all our attention throughout the week. All of our energy and time is directed towards worldly affairs; towards gaining money, gaining honors and favor, to growing in our reputation. However, such little thought do we give to our God that it has become more often that our relationship with the Devil grows stronger than the relationship with our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is by offering ourselves to the enemy in small bits with such frequency, and not to our Lord that we eventually find ourselves giving him ourselves entirely. This is how we start to fall from these little venial sins into the far more grievous sins and, ultimately, into our spiritual destruction.
When we lose our relationship with God, when we allow ourselves to forget that He is with us always – ever around us, still with us, continually hearing our cries and guiding our footsteps – when we allow ourselves to forget this reality, my brothers and sisters, it becomes ever so easy not to understand that little voice of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit who longs to fly into your heart, to dwell in the innermost sanctuary of your soul. He who desires to transform you into a living tabernacle through which the Lord may be made known to the world – oh how much he does desire to fly to those who have filled themselves with love of His spouse the Immaculate Conception. That Spirit who whispers to us and works ever unceasingly to direct our will to be in conformity to Gods Will. It is when we have a deep and profound love of our Lady that the holy spirit flies to be united with his Spouse, and when he is with his spouse inside of us – those who love her – it is most comfortable for us to hear His voice. However, those of us who grow weak in our love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and who flounder in our love and devotion to His Blessed Mother Mary, who turn away from God leave ourselves devoid of the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit save that which God, in His infinite Mercy, dispenses to us most unworthy souls in order to keep us from falling into complete sin and debauchery. He never wishes us to slip away from His Kingdom forever; however, we are free to lead ourselves astray if we so chose to do so – and, my God, my Blessed Savior, how many of Your servants allow themselves to do so. May You save them in Your Mercy. Amen.
May we then, my God I pray, be fortified by the Grace that You in Your infinite Mercy wish to give to we Your little servants so that we may never turn from You, may never find ourselves lacking in love for You, for Your Blessed Mother, or the Holy Spirit Whom we pray will guide us in all our actions all the days of our lives. My God if You would but increase our devotion to this Holy Spirit that we would listen to Him and follow all of His urgings without hesitation we would be made ever vigilant against even the smallest sins into which we may be tempted fall; however, because we close our ears not only to his voice – which is ever so faint to we little and wretched souls, which is often quite quiet to even the most blessed mystics of Your Holy Catholic Church – we allow ourselves to turn away from the love of our Lady, we forgo our rosaries, we letting deteriorate our love and devotion for You think of Mass as only something to which we are obliged to observe and see it not as the greatest blessing which You have left for us. My God, I beg You to give all Your servants, great and small, fervent devotion to You and Your mother, and grant us all, my Lord I pray, profound love and affection to Your most Holy Spirit whom You have sent to us. Would we but have this devotion to You, our God, how much more would we be made aware of the extreme pain which we cause You when we turn from You and commit even the smallest sin. With awareness, devotion, and faith in You, we are fortified in our watch against venial and mortal sins. Without dedication to You, our Lord, we are left helpless and floundering; drowning in the waves of worldly temptation and the forever lost to the allure of vice and materialism, temptation and evil. Without You, our Lord, we have no guide and set out to hopelessly seek salvation on our own – a task most impossible for a mere creature. My God if anything of our fallen human nature has proven immemorially true it is that when we, Your wretched and depraved creatures, are left to our power to grasp at salvation we do nothing but lead ourselves into our ruin. Keep us then, my Lord I pray, ever mindful of the need of devotion which we must have – and which is rightly offered – only to You if we are to have any hope whatsoever of entering into Your heavenly embrace when You call us from our exile here on earth. May You prevent us from falling into a life of vice and debauchery and may You keep us, my Lord I beg You, from ever allowing ourselves to become so conditioned to a life of sin that we see not our endless steps along the forced march of the Devil by which he seeks to lead Your servants into a life of ruin forever and hopelessly separated from You, our God. Amen.
My brothers and sisters, I beg you to devote some time reflecting upon those things which we do so often that we may not even be aware of their nature as sinful actions. Those actions which we perform so regularly and so mindlessly that they seem but mere “bad habits.” Ponder, for instance, how often it is that we wake in the morning intending to say our Rosary but come evening we are laying down in bed having not thought once more about performing this act of devotion. How often do we rush through our Office if we are obliged to recite it – or if we choose to out of personal dedication? How frequently is it that we rush through this divine school of prayer seeing it as merely something we ought to do and not something that we are blessed with the opportunity to perform daily. How common is it that as we are in Mass we think not of our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is being sacrificed upon the altar for our salvation, but instead allow our minds to turn towards that which we wish to eat afterward, that which we are going to watch on television that evening, or a project which we have left unfinished at work. How often is it that we pass by somebody on the street who needs our help thinking only that the next person will help them and giving no thought to an opportunity to grow in the virtue of charity pass by and give them not another idea beyond that required to step around them on the sidewalk?
It is both these omissions of good and these turnings away from our Lord through sin that lead us to sin more gravely. If we were but aware of these tiny and seemingly insignificant sins which trip us little souls constantly as we walk the narrow path laid out before us by our Blessed Lord we would more easily be able to start amending our lives. It is these little sins which are the parts and parcel of more massive more heinous crimes. It is these small sins which progressively blind our vision to those gave sins we slowly begin to habituate. One who finds themselves falling into the sin of adultery, for instance, does not often start by genuinely committing the heinous action of infidelity. Instead, they being by allowing themselves to view immodest pictures and pornographic videos casually. They allow themselves to look lustfully at other individuals that are not their spouse – or if they are called to celibacy willfully looking at any soul with urges and temptations. Eventually, through giving in to these temptations and allowing them to enter into their mind unchecked, the once faithful spouse comes into an adulterous relationship and a life of grave sin. Adultery is but an example of how easily a smaller sin will often lead us to commit much graver actions – to perform much more extreme acts for which our Lord must endure great suffering on our behalf. Our Blessed Lord, who has already experienced so much injustice and suffering on our account, must we condemn Him to further suffering because we lack the discipline to keep our thoughts and actions ever turning away from sin? Once we truly to acknowledge that we tend to fall into these little sins habitually, we may then begin the arduous task to do what we ought so that we may – through the grace of God – rectify them and start to live our lives for God alone fully. Of course for we weak creatures, we little souls, it is easier for us to write them off and say, “They are but venial sins. They shall be forgiven at our next Mass.” Of course our Lord does forgive us our venial sins when we attend Mass if we have contrition for having committed them; however, it is not only this forgiveness which we should seek, but the grace to indeed improve our ability to recognize and turn from sin in our daily lives that is important. This grace, however, can only work unobstructed within us if our commitment and desire to rectify our lives and hurt not again the Blessed Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ is held profoundly and sincerely within our souls. For if we do not correct our lives of these little sins how is it then, my brothers and sisters, that can we hope to avoid those grave sins whose false reward dwarfs those seemingly comparatively less pleasurable false rewards for which we already so easily compromise ourselves?
Instead of offering worship to our Blessed Lord and Savior we begin to offer worship, in our actions, to that vile enemy Satan. We make an offering to the enemy of our every thought and deed when they are directed towards indulgence in a vice and when we willingly give into temptation. However, it is only to Our Lord that we should offer our actions and our thoughts, our words and our struggles. When, my brothers and sisters, we finally awake from our slumber and wish to return to the Lord perhaps – if we have mindlessly lived sinful lives for a significant number of years – we may begin to think ourselves so deep in the clutches of the enemy that we were to also sin by the expression of despair – a lack of trust in our Lords Mercy and forgiveness – and therefore never return to Him. My God, may this never be the case for Your poor and little servants. Amen.
When the good of creation which our Lord has given to us becomes bad for us through misuse or repeated overindulgence, when we have not kept ourselves away from the small temptations to sin, then do we become more open to the commitment of those severe sins which separate us from our Lord. It is not that we set out to leave the Church and to never return, but perhaps we start floundering in our attendance at daily Mass and thinking then that nothing terrible has happened to us – while, indeed, we have instead lost an excellent opportunity for Grace to enter into our lives – we in our weakness begin to see not sanctity as that goal to which we should orient our lives, but money, fame, reputation, or respect become the aims of our life. How easily, my brothers and sisters, is it that we turn from Grace. How quickly we in our fallen natures come to see a life of grace and sanctity as one containing no value – yet, honestly, a life of virtue and piety is what more valuable than the most precious materials of this world, is more comforting than all the pleasures with which the enemy may taunt us.
When we choose to spend not our time in holy work, perhaps reciting an extra rosary, we give up that grace which such pious actions may contain in exchange for more time to waste upon leisurely activities of life or for the ability to earn more money and material wealth in our occupations. It is through these smaller sins, or indeed more often the omission of some good which we could perform, that we then begin to think it permissible to miss a Sunday Mass perhaps as well. Of course, there may be times when we in our weakness miss a Sunday Mass; but then recognizing our misstep we hurry to make a good confession and set out to identify, and with the help of our Blessed Lord rectify, what it has been about our lives that led to us making such a mistake. However, how often my brothers and sisters do we see ourselves committing some grave sin, not going to confession, not rectifying our lives, and then allowing the whispers of Satan to begin to enter our minds and overpower those cries of the Holy Spirit seeking to lead us back to God.
How quickly we wretched creatures let the temptations and the whispers of the Devil turn us rapidly so from our Lord. We think that it is upon our terms that we are to leave this world; however, it is not, as we know, upon our terms that we depart my brothers and sisters. It is Gods plan alone which determines the hour in which we are to be called from this exile to face His Perfect Justice. We know not the day upon which our eyes are to close never to open again. We know not if this hour that we set out in our car to begin our commute to work – the job which we have chosen to attend instead of Mass on this Sunday so that we can gain more material wealth to spend in this life here and now – is the hour in which our Lord has deemed fitting to take us from this world. Therefore, it is most unwise to allow ourselves to hear even the faintest of Satan’s beguiling whispers. However, how often is it that we weak, little, and wretched souls fall prone to the temptations towards some small worldly comfort – the lure of sleeping in an extra few moments when leads to us missing communal rosary, the temptation of having that bite to eat so close to the start of Mass that it will make us trade the fullness of Grace which we receive in the Eucharist at the table of our Lord for the fullness of our stomach which we receive at our kitchen table. It is most assuredly our readiness to chase after these little temptations of the devil which seem so harmless to us that eventually lead us to commit the most grievous and offensive of sins.
My Lord let us not fall victim to these temptations and whispers of the Devil. May You fortify us and give us the strength to remain always faithful and committed to You. May we avoid even these smallest of temptations so that we may then – by Your Grace and through the intercession of Your Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of all Your Holy Saints and Angels – be prevented from falling into even more grave sin. My Lord let us not see only those mortal sins which most assuredly separate us from You, but make us ever aware of even the most seemingly insignificant of sins for it is to those which we ought to give the most attention as it is from these that grave sin stems. Grave sin is – by Your Grace – avoided easily enough by Your faithful servants as You and Your shepherds have instructed Your Church often of the great ruin these heinous sins shall wreak in our lives if we allow ourselves to fall into them. We have been warned against them so frequently, my Lord, that so much as even the faintest thought of committing them causes us to tremble to the core of our souls. However, it is the smaller sins which lead to these heinous offenses and which make it easier for us to be beguiled by the Devil. These sins which open the gates of our minds for Satan to enter with his whispers and doubts. My Lord, I beg You to keep we Your faithful and little servants free from these offenses – these diabolical attacks from the enemy into which we are so prone, in our weakness, to fall. May You make us always on guard against these little sins which cause little souls such as we the most harm. When we think we are but making a small concession that our life may be made temporarily more enjoyable may You let us clearly see how much of our life in heaven we are sacrificing for such a small and worthless gain. My Lord may we never see anything more valuable than that time with You in heaven which You have promised to Your faithful servants, and may we, My Lord I beg You, be made by Your grace into fitting servants whom You will welcome readily and joyfully into Your Heavenly Kingdom. Let us never trade the goods of heaven for the goods of this earth. Let us never sell the promise of salvation for the pleasure gained through giving in to our weakness against small temptations. Amen.
My brothers and sisters, it is challenging to keep ourselves from falling into these little temptations that Saint Teresa of Avila in her “Way of Perfection” against which she warned us most earnestly to guard ourselves. We must not allow ourselves at any moment to think we are strong enough to resist them alone my dear brothers, my most cherished sisters. We must never think ourselves able to withstand even these small temptations of the Devil, and must always turn to God relying upon Him for our strength and our protection. He is truly the only absolute and safe way towards holiness, and it is by His Church that we exiles upon earth are to be guided into His heavenly kingdom. Indeed, the great Saints of our Church have faced much more temptation that we little souls could ever imagine and have found success; but that because they knew, indeed, that it was not their victory but the victory of God which was won by their lives. Without the strength and protection of Christ, without the fortification of the Holy Ghost, without the Mercy of the Father, no Saint would have ever been allowed to enter into the kingdom of our Lord. We, too, my brothers and sisters are protected in measure and in proportion necessary to those trials which God will send to us to bring about within us a spiritual perfection. However, we little souls, who know ourselves to be incapable of any good whatsoever, ought not to think ourselves bound for becoming great saints. Instead, we ought to content ourselves with being good friends of the Lord and trusting in our Lady to mold us into fitting sacrifices to Her Son remembering that it is even the lowest of Saints who are granted the great blessing of praising our Lord forever in heaven. Let us then, my brothers and sisters, remain content with the humble desire of being one of these little souls granted by the mercy of our Lord entrance into His eternal embrace. We need not seek out great temptation in our lives or to engage in harrowing physical battles against the Devil himself; instead, we little souls merely must serve our Lord humbly and with love in the vocation to which He has seen fit to call us. By doing thusly, my brothers and sisters, we shall pray through our daily actions – by living our lives the best we can in accordance with the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – to be sanctified. If we allow ourselves to think that we are strong enough to resist even the smallest of temptations on our own how much we poor creatures deceive ourselves. It is not by our strength that we oppose these temptations but by the grace and mercy of our Lord. Let us then trust in God and turn to him and away from all that which He has, in His infinite wisdom, warned us to avoid. To think ourselves strong souls capable is much like walking onto a battlefield full of enemy fire – let us not think ourselves immune from the diabolical attacks of the devil. Instead, my brothers and sisters, let us turn inward and see our wretchedness, our helplessness, and our incapacity for any good whatsoever. Having thus seen ourselves so weak, so little, so helpless we will then be encouraged in our efforts to do nothing more than turn and run into the arms of our Blessed Lord who has promised to protect us and to fortify us against these attacks of the devil if we but faithfully put our trust in Him. It is through Him that our goodness, and not our wretchedness, is allowed to shine for it is He whom it illumines and not the servant.
Know well brothers and sisters that we shall not go all the days of our lives without some temptation and struggle. Our Lord, when He sees it will benefit our spiritual progress, does indeed allow us to be tempted and assaulted by the enemy it is also He who has promised that such temptation will not exceed our capacity to resist. Who but our creator knows better our soul’s capabilities? Let us then trust in Him, and when temptation strikes turn to Him and His Blessed Mother in prayer begging for the strength and fortitude which He has promised to bestow up those to come to Him faithfully. Yet if we do not turn to our Blessed Lord – if we instead carry on thinking ourselves capable in our own right of resisting and reaching heaven – we will indeed be granted the opportunity to test ourselves. We are given free will, my brothers and sisters. Let us, then, use that free will to turn willingly to our Lord and trust in Him to keep us safe from even these little temptations. Let us not allow that mechanism given to us by which we freely say “yes” to God become that by which we allow ourselves to turn towards selfish desires and aspirations. Remain, vigilant brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes on our Lord. Keep yourself ever seeking to learn more fully the teachings of our Lord and His Church so that you may know what it is you are to avoid and what it is that may lead you into that which is bad for your spiritual well being. Work always to conform your lives to be ever more in union with these teachings for without these teachings given to us by the Grace of God we fallen creatures can never hope to make progress along the path of holiness. There is always something which can be improved in our lives and we ought to be vigilant in seeking out and coming to know our faults so that we may rectify them allowing ourselves to more readily avoid those near occasions to sin which lead to our giving into temptation, falling out from Grace, and into an eternal punishment of permanent separation from our Lord.
Certainly, our Lord wishes nothing else for you but that you may become a great saint in heaven, but for this to happen we must willingly give ourselves entirely to our Lord. Our will must be His Will, and He never wills for you to sin even in the slightest my brothers and sisters. Therefore, when you feel a temptation towards sin do not brush it off because it is merely a small sin. We ought to see venial sins for what they indeed are – temptations which lead us into mortal sins, the catalysts for grave sin. We ought to fear these most as left unnoticed they will wreak far worse havoc in the changes they make to our permanent nature than any mortal sin committed once but quickly and repentantly confessed. Truly, left uncorrected, these seemingly small sins may cause us to enter into a life of not only frequent venial sin but perpetual mortal sin, and once in a cycle of mortal sin we keep ourselves from coming into a state of Grace by which we allow our Lord and Savior to redeem us by His Mercy. When one trusts not the Lord, but themselves, one is not likely to see turning to the Lord as a worthy choice – although it is the most righteous of choices one who desires salvation may make – and instead may find themselves in a sort of self-exile from God who wishes nothing more than to welcome this fallen soul back into His fold. If we saw our venial sins for what they indeed are we would abstain from them with the fortitude of an addicted soul who knows if they but take one more drink, or use their drug of choice but one more time, how terribly far they shall fall from where they ought to be; from where God desires them to be. Indeed, my brothers and sisters, we must strive to sin not even once. Just as an alcoholic seeks to drink not even once we but abstain from even the smallest of sins – and by the Grace of God refrain we shall. Every sip we take of the nectar of immortality in this life is one step closer to the just punishment of perpetual separation from God in the next. We must not allow ourselves to take sin lightly. We must not let ourselves to be lukewarm in matters of our eternal salvation. We must remain ever on guard against these temptations of the Devil if we hope to be with our Beloved in Heaven. For how quickly do we open the floodgates for Satan and his minions to flood our lives when we allow ourselves to treat any sin – any offense against God – as if it was nothing more than a slight skip along the path towards heaven. Satan and his minions will undoubtedly attack us most violently and lead us into the most horrible and wretched of sins of which we never thought ourselves capable of committing if we allow ourselves such a lazed watch against sin and corruption. Examen your conscience often. Run to confession when you must. Be never lukewarm in your love and devotion to God, and you shall never find yourself alone in this world as our Good Lord will always be with those who love Him most.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us close this letter with a prayer in common from the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary – one which we have often prayed together. It is one that we should turn to as often as we need begging the Lord to forgive us for our weakness. For we will, we wretched and vile creatures, fall into temptation; however, if we immediately, and feeling genuinely remorseful for our actions and offenses, ask our Lord for forgiveness – if we meet Him often in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – He has promised us forgiveness and the strength to be fortified by His grace against the forces of Satan and the evils which he works upon us. Let us then knowing our low and wretched status on this earth, our state as the smallest and weakest of souls, turn to our Lord and ask Him for forgiveness and for the strength to remain vigilant against even these smallest and unnoticeable of temptations with the confidence that our Blessed Lord will keep us safe from falling into more grievous and mortal sins.
Forgive, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the sins of Thy servants; so that we who cannot become pleasing to Thee from our actions, may be saved by the pleading of the Mother of Thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.