Striving for Perfection – Part 9 of 10

Father Geiermann notes that one who strives for perfection avoids occasions of sin and seeks opportunities for doing good.

Concerning the avoidance of occasions of sin, he observes: “The occasion of sin is something external to us, which allures us to sin. . . . Some occasions are dangerous to faith, others to modesty, to temperance, to justice, or to charity. As long as we (1) avoid the proximate occasion of sin when we can; (2) render the occasion remote where it is impossible to avoid it; (3) renew our determination to avoid every sin; and (4) fortify ourselves by prayer, we have a claim on the special protection of Providence, and may rest assured that God will deliver us. But, to seek the occasion of sin, or tarry voluntarily in it, besides incurring the guilt of the sin, is an act of presumption.”

Moments of temptation call for moral decisiveness: “Decision in temptation is vigor and promptitude in resisting the inclinations to sin. Our will may act with this decision even when our nature is rebellious and hankers for what is forbidden. And, practically, the greater the effort necessary to triumph over a temptation, the greater is also the victory and the merit. . . . Our hope of triumph is in the goodness and promises of God, but the grace of God can not crown us with victory before we have stood the test of resisting the temptation with decision.”

“Most temptations are easily overcome by making contrary acts in a spirit of faith. The saints of God advise us, however, to turn away from temptations against faith and holy purity, and conquer them by invoking the aid of Jesus and Mary while occupying our minds with other subjects. The reason for this salutary advice is because temptations against faith and holy purity are intensified by actual opposition.”

As for seeking occasions for doing good, Father Geiermann says: “An occasion of doing good is an opportunity of pleasing God. All are given the opportunity of fulfilling the duties of their state in life, as well as the opportunity of performing various acts of fraternal charity and Christian mercy. Our first aim should be to perform the duties of our state in life conscientiously, and then to seek those occasions of doing good (1) which harmonize with our calling; (2) which are most urgent; (3) which are nearest at hand. It is better to seek the ordinary occasions of doing good rather than the extraordinary, and to prefer the hidden ones to those which earn for us the applause of the world.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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