Father Geiermann continues his discussion of things that trouble the soul. Here he considers temptations and the role the devil plays in leading us into sin.
“A temptation is an impulse given to the will by the flesh, the world, or the devil to commit sin.”
“The flesh tempts man in three ways: (1) by the concupiscence of the eyes to seek the riches, pleasures, and comforts of life; (2) by the concupiscence of the flesh to indulge in sensual gratifications; (3) by the pride of life to seek worldly honor, fame, and influence.”
“The world tempts man in two ways: (1) by inspiring him with slavish fear or human respect; (2) by pandering to his passions.”
“The devil usually tempts man (1) by intensifying the allurements of the flesh and the world; (2) by inciting his carnal appetites to evil.”
“Though [evil spirits] can not influence man’s mind and heart directly, they can inflict great harm on them through his senses and his passions.”
“The devil may act on man’s external senses (1) by an illusory sensation and make a corresponding impression on the imagination and memory; (2) by a corporeal apparition, as he appeared to the Saviour in the desert.”
“He may act directly on man’s internal senses (1) by inciting the instinct to carnal desires; (2) by effacing virtuous impressions from the imagination and memory; (3) and impressing vicious images in their stead; (4) by fixing such vicious impressions deeply upon the internal senses. In this way the devil distracts the mind of a child of God, harasses his will, and inclines his heart to sin, counteracts the past effects of grace and virtue, blinds man to the blessings of the present, and tempts him to sin.”
The devil is shrewd, cautions Geiermann, for he “does not shock man, but easily leads him to hold, that, as his influence can not be easily detected, it has been much overrated, especially in modern times.”
“God permits man to be tempted (1) to test his good will; (2) to ground him in humility; (3) to stimulate his fervor; (4) to detach him from earthly things and center his affections on spiritual things; (5) to give his virtue a healthy growth; (6) to give him an opportunity of merit and reward; (7) to teach him to advance in the spiritual life.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).