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Be sober, vigilant and pray

Tues­day. [Phil. 1:8-14; Luke 5:12-16] The lep­er fell down be­fore the Lord and besought: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. The Lord said: I will: be thou clean. And im­me­di­ate­ly the lep­ro­sy de­part­ed from him. So does ev­ery mor­al lep­ro­sy im­me­di­ate­ly de­part as soon as one falls down be­fore the Lord with faith, re­pen­tance, and con­fes­sion — it tru­ly de­parts and los­es any pow­er over him. Why does the lep­ro­sy some­times re­turn again? For the same rea­son that bodi­ly dis­eases re­turn. One who has re­cov­er­ed is told, “do not eat that, do not drink this, do not go there.” If he does not obey, the dis­ease again flares up. So it is in the spir­i­tu­al life. One must be so­ber, vig­i­lant, and pray — then the dis­ease of sin will not re­turn. If you are not at­ten­tive to­ward your­self, if you al­low your­self to see, hear, say, and do ev­ery­thing in­dis­crim­i­nate­ly, how can sin not flare up and take pow­er once again? The Lord charged the lep­er to ful­fil all ac­cord­ing to the law. This means that up­on con­fes­sion one must re­ceive a pen­ance and faith­ful­ly ful­fil it; with­in it is con­ceal­ed great pre­ven­tive strength. But why do some say: this sin­ful hab­it has over­come me, I can­not han­dle my­self. Ei­ther be­cause re­pen­tance and con­fes­sion were not com­plete, or be­cause af­ter mak­ing pre­cau­tionary chang­es he ad­heres on­ly weak­ly to them, or in­dulges him­self. He wants to do ev­ery­thing with­out to­il and self-co­er­cion, and is laugh­ed at by the en­e­my. Re­solve to stand un­to death and show [this resolve] in deed, and you will see what pow­er there is in this. It is true that in ev­ery in­sur­mount­able pas­sion that comes up the en­e­my pos­sess­es the soul, but this is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion; for he im­me­di­ate­ly flees as soon as you pro­duce an in­ner change, with God’s help.

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