We all face temptations. All of them can harm us, but we are often susceptible to some more than others.
My weak spots involve the flesh.
I had been doing well for a while, but the other night my wife was watching a movie I had never seen. I wandered in to sit and read. I kept glancing up, though.
The movie dealt with various kinds of carnal behavior, sometimes with humor, but also with violence. And then there appeared the requisite gratuitous nudity.
I left the room.
But the next day, some of the images and lines kept popping into my head.
As I was driving. As I trying to say my rosary.
I tried my old standby prayer to battle thoughts: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Repeated over and over.
It would work for that moment, but the images would come back.
I was reminded of the story of two Zen Buddhist monks.
They came to a ford of a stream that was running high, and the current was strong and frightening looking. An attractive young lady was standing at the ford, looking nervous. She clearly was afraid to cross, but had an important reason to go across.
Without a word, the older of the two monks lifted her in his arms and waded across the stream, and placed her safely on the far bank. The younger monk looked shocked at this action, but kept his silence for quite some number of miles as they continued their journey. Finally, he blurted out, "You know that it is against the rules of our order to have any contact with women. How could you do that?"
The older monk replied, "I put her down when I reached the other side of the river. You, on the other hand, have been carrying her this whole way."
I suppose some people can watch such movies - though, to be honest, from what I saw there was little of redeeming value in the film (the Bishops rated it Morally Offensive) - but given my own weaknesses, I can't . I have to be careful what I watch, what I read, and what I listen to.
I am a sinner.
Those stories of St. Francis battling temptation by rolling in snow or even thorn bushes make sense to me!
Pax et bonum.