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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Can We Be Tempted Beyond our Strength to Resist?

January 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Demonology, Fr. Fortea, Spiritual Warfare

Father Fortea, can we be tempted beyond our strength to resist?

No. Though we are weak creatures, God cares for us as His children. As the Bible states, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).

God permits us to be tempted to test our obedience and freely choose His will. In the Bible, just before His passion, Jesus said to St. Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Lk 22:31). “Demanded” implies that the temptation must be allowed by God. Not to affirm this doctrine would mean that we are in the hands of blind destiny, and anyone could be tempted with a power and intensity beyond his strength to resist. Therefore, the message is clear and comforting: God, as our Father, watches out so that none of His children are pressured beyond what they are capable of. We can see in this the wisdom of the old proverb: “God claims but sustains.” He gives each the grace to be strong in the face of temptation and choose good instead of evil.

 

Art: St. Catherine of Siena Besieged by Demons, ca 1500, Anonymous (Lesser Poland); artyzm.com; PD-US; Wikimedia Commons.

Editor’s Note:  To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.

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About Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea

Father José Antonio Fortea is not only an exorcist, but also a writer, and parish priest. He once thought he would lead what he has termed ordinary life as an attorney in Madrid, much as his father did before him, but sensed instead a vocation to the priesthood in his adolescent years. A theology graduate of Navarre University in Spain, Father Fortea wrote a thesis there on exorcism. He has been a practicing exorcist for several decades.

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  • patricia

    So true Father God allows no temptation beyond our own strength and he does always give us a way out. I do forget this often it is a great reminder and great consolation. Thank you and God Bless Always!

    • Gina

      Yes God is so gracious and very kind and loving, He will never give us a drop more than we can handle (we do that nicely ourselves however…)

  • Sandra Traw

    What if you never seem to be able to love God or your neighbor …what if you always put yourself first and fail over and over what if your sins are so numerous and many confession always seems insufficient. What if you never feel consolation only desolation? What then Father? What if you seem to have exhausted all avenues for help? And you live a bit like a hermit isolated…you have a priest who doesn’t know how to help you…then what…do you just pray for purgatory rather than hell? You can read every book printed and they all just lead you back around to the same place…fear of hell…hope of purgatory, maybe? Not one single solitary priest with an answer…Find a spiritual,advisor…well good luck with that…? What about you? Do you have an answer?

    • LizEst

      Have you had that heart-to-heart talk with the Lord yet?

      Go to a place where you can be by yourself, with just Jesus and you. Then, talk to Him as you would a friend. Talk out loud. Tell Him all these things. Pour your anguish out. You don’t have to say sweet things to Him. But, you do have to respect Him. He already knows what is in your heart…and He wants you to be honest about what you have to say. Air out your feelings with Him. He will certainly hear you. Forthrightly, tell Him everything that is in your heart.

      • Sandra Traw

        Oh, Liz, I awaken often by 4 in the morning and have cried and cried out before The Lord ..I have been very honest in my lack of love for Him and others…there is something I am missing…God knows who I am…I know who I am…He has the power to begin to change me to be more like Him…yet I am not moving forward…I think I am going backwards. Maybe This love of myself will never allow me to love God..It is the continual desiring of God that is unbearable! .Thank you for your advice.

        • LizEst

          Do all you can to humble yourself before Him. Use any and all occasions to humble yourself. Nothing draws God like humility.

          ps. He’s not going to do all the work to change you. He provides the grace and you have to cooperate with it. Take a close look at your life and see where you have the opportunity to rely on Him more than relying on yourself or on other things, other idols as it were. Don’t be defeatist. Being such is just where the devil wants you to be. “My strength and my courage is the Lord and He has been my savior.” Isaiah 12.

          • Sandra Traw

            I will try LizEst….I will try not to be defeatist. I am sometimes amazed that I have endured so much and am still here…so I guess that is not totally giving up . Sometimes I look at where I am and who I am and It seems a bit like a comedy of errors. I am not only very self centered and unloving but I also am the person from childhood who never “stuck to anything or worked hard at anything”. No place is it so deadly as in the spiritual realm…

          • LizEst

            Sandra- I can tell that you know yourself a bit. Nevertheless, humility isn’t about putting yourself down. It is about truly knowing oneself truly and knowing who we are before God. Most of us know the basics. But, pride, and attachment to things and people and ourselves, can be very difficult to uncover. One aspect of learning to be humble means learning to wait on the Lord, not telling Him what to do…and this can happen in prayer, too. Don’t tell Him what, how and when to do things, even in prayer. It happens in God’s time, when you are ready for it. It’s about faith and trust in the Lord. Remember, His ways are not our ways. They are far above our ways.

            Sometimes God will provide consolation in order to spur you on to stay the path or to give you incentive to keep to the straight and narrow as an anticipation of things to come. But, you need to get to that place where you say to God: whatever you want and when you want it, Lord, that is what I want…and that is what I am happy to do and to be. This was the Blessed Mother’s prayer: “Be it done unto me according to your will.”

            Lean on Him to help you. Say to Him, “I can’t do this on my own. I want to get to the place where you want me to be. I want to be the person you created me to be. But, obviously, I’m not getting there. I can’t do it on my own. Come Holy Spirit!” And, you have to mean it, in the very deepest place of your heart. There can be no ulterior motive but God’s will and the praise and glory of Him. No desire for consolation or glory or anything like that for yourself…otherwise, what you want is for yourself. Let God be God. When He is ready and when He deems you are ready, He will act. In the meantime, use the time to continue to pray, and to read and study the Scriptures. That will stand you in good stead.

            God bless you, Sandra.

          • Sandra Traw

            I have copied your reply to me so I can read it often….especially right now when I am not understanding and so full of fear….you are right I do have ulterior motives..I want peace of mind and to be free from torment and to feel good about myself as a person not always a failure..again, I see that is thinking about myself and not God…that self-centeredness I am struggling with. Thank You for your help.

          • PrayTheRosaryMomLoves

            +JMJ+

            Dear Sandra,

            I suggest all of the following. Stay close to the Sacraments. Go to confession on a weekly basis(make confession a devotion to Jesus). Try to find a place where there is perpetual adoration of The Blessed Sacrament. and go often, even everyday. In Adoration, Pray for the grace to constantly live in His Most Holy and Divine Will. Pray to love whatever he sends to you. If you are not praying The Rosary daily, I would start.

            Saw this earlier today.

            http://catholicexchange.com/profit-faults

            God Bless!

            Todd

          • Sandra Traw

            Thank you…We share a priest with 4 locations but I go to confession as often as I can…I can usually make an appointment every other week. There is a larger city 2 1/2 hrs away which may have Adoration often I am not sure. It is really not a possibility for me especially this time of year. I was doing better with consistency praying the Rosary…I have to admit I have struggled with all my disciplines with my worsening depression….I MUST ask for more grace to be consistent! Thank you for your help!

          • PrayTheRosaryMomLoves

            You are very welcome! If there is a parish ***nearby*** where you know Jesus is in the tabernacle(without exposition) that would also be a place to go for adoration. There does not have to be formal adoration for one to go to adoration. Jesus will see your intention. At http://www.masstimes.org there is a locator of parishes near cities and zipcodes in the US and Canada. For some parishes, there is information regarding days of adoration in the ‘Other Services’ column.

            Keep uniting your mental anguish with His mental anguish in either the First Sorrowful Mystery of The Rosary for whatever is most pleasing to Him or an offering at anytime.

            God Bless and prayers,

            Todd

          • LizEst

            Please seek professional assistance for depression. There may be a physical cause for the depression, which a little medical/psychological help could greatly assist. God bless you Sandra.

          • patricia

            Sandra I often ask why won’t The Lord want to change the things I don’t like about myself then I remember we are all given the cross to bear in union with the humility and poverty of Christ often he just wants us to depend on him alone. I have had a very tough time in trust since I have had a traumatic past so I pray for child like trust and love in God the Father. I confess my unlove my selfishness my pride and what ever else many times during the day. I have a spiritual director who is my regular confessor but I prayed a novena to Padre Pio to find such a one. When I am stuck I turn to Mary and ask for her humility and purity and her love for God and then I storm heaven asking the intercession of all the saints especially st Therese and St Faustina and st Michael and St joseph. I call on more. I pray to be a good person and pray as to how to do Gods holy will which is practicing love and mercy. I turn to scriptures and spiritual readings but most of all I go to confession even being just tempted or I ask for a blessing or a prayer. God can’t ignore his child’s heart full of contrition and desire to love him and serve him and his children. I pray a lot our father the prayer of Jesus and that helps. It takes work but all relationships do except this is the best relationship you will ever have. I use sacramentals pray the rosary divine mercy liturgy of the hours, I still sin we all do but all these things help me to stay connected to Christ. God Bless and I will say a prayer for you! Adoration is great too.

          • Sandra Traw

            I copied your reply so I can refer to it….I think I also will write out some of the suggestions to keep here by my chair so I can refer to them during the day…Camila had suggested a Psalm as well so I have that here, too!

          • patricia

            Good I will keep you in my prayers approach God as a child with contrition but also with dependence and confidence that God alone can heal and change you. God Bless!!!

        • Camila

          Sandra, I have been where you are. God will bring you to life again. I remember a time when I would wake up in the morning and say to our Lord “really?…you want me to live another day? really?…..so you didn’t take me last night?…. It is a hard time, but also a time to embrace the sorrow that it is to feel away from God. You will feel him close again. you will. That I have no doubt, it is just a matter of embracing this time and drench yourself in this faith that seem so dark and mysterious.

          Pray with the Psalmist…

          Lord, the God of my salvation, I call out by day:
          at night I cry aloud in your presence.
          Let my prayer come before you:
          incline your ear to my cry.
          For my soul is filled with troubles:
          my life draws near to Sheol.
          I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit:
          I am like a warrior without strength….

          You can read the Psalm 88 here, it’s beautiful.
          http://www.usccb.org/bible/psalms/88

          • Sandra Traw

            OK thank you… I will read it. It helps to know someone has felt so far from Him and has found their way.

    • Jo

      Keep your eyes focused on Jesus,only when you are in a relationship with him will you find your answers.Trust Him to enlighten and guide you,through His Spirit you will see the light and find peace.God bless you.

      • Sandra Traw

        Thank you for your encouragement…

  • melchizedekmail

    I’d like to point out that the preceding verse before 1 Cor 10:13 says

    ” So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall”

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