Victory Over Temptation
by Max Lucado
Open Manholes and Sudden Sin
It is easier to stay out than to get out. --Mark Twain
It happens in an instant. One minute you are walking and
whistling, the next you are wide-eyed and falling. Satan
yanks back the manhole cover, and an innocent
afternoon stroll becomes a horror story. Helplessly you
tumble, aware of the fall but unable to gain control. You
crash at the bottom and stare blankly into the darkness.
You inhale the evil stench and sit in Satanís sewage until
he spits you out and you land, dumbfounded and shell-
shocked, on the sidewalk.
Such is the pattern of sudden sin. Can you relate to it?
Very few sins are premeditated and planned. Very few of
us would qualify for Satanís strategy team. We spend our
time avoiding sin, not planning it. But donít think for one
minute that, just because you donít want to fall, you wonít.
Satan has a special trick for you, and he only pulls it out
when you arenít looking.
This yellow-bellied father of lies doesnít dare meet you
face-to-face. No, sir. Donít expect this demon of demons
to challenge you to a duel. Not this snake. He hasnít the
integrity to tell you to turn around and put up your dukes.
He fights dirty.
He is the master of the trapdoor and the author of weak
moments. He waits until your back is turned. He waits until
your defense is down. He waits until the bell has rung and
you are walking back to your corner. Then he aims his
dart at your weakest point andÖ
Bullís-eye! You lose your temper. You lust. You fall. You
take a drag. You buy a drink. You kiss the woman. You
follow the crowd. You rationalize. You say yes. You sign
your name. You forget who you are. You walk into her
room. You look in the window. You break your promise.
You buy the magazine. You lie. You covet. You stomp
your feet and demand your way.
You deny your Master.
Itís David disrobing Bathsheba. Itís Adam accepting the
fruit from Eve. Itís Abraham lying about Sarah. Itís Peter
denying that he ever knew Jesus. Itís Noah, drunk and
naked in his tent. Itís Lot, in bed with his own daughters.
Itís your worst nightmare. Itís sudden. Itís sin.
Satan numbs our awareness and short-circuits our self-
control. We know what we are doing and yet canít
believe that we are doing it. In the fog of weakness, we
want to stop but havenít the will to do so. We want to turn
around, but our feet wonít move. We want to run, and
pitifully, we want to stay.
Itís the teenager in the backseat. Itís the alcoholic buying
"just one." Itís the boss touching his secretaryís hand.
The husband walking into the porn shop. The mother
losing her temper. The father beating his child. The
gambler losing his money. The Christian losing control.
And itís Satan gaining a foothold.
Confusion. Guilt. Rationalization. Despair. It all hits. It hits
hard. We numbly pick ourselves up and stagger back into
our world. "O God, what have I done?" "Should I tell
someone?" "Iíll never do it again." "My God, can You
No one who is reading these words is free from the
treachery of sudden sin. No one is immune to this trick of
perdition. This demon of hell can scale the highest
monastery wall, penetrate the deepest faith, and
desecrate the purest home.
Some of you know exactly what I mean. You could write
these words better than I, couldnít you? Some of you, like
me, have tumbled so often that the stench of Satanís
breath is far from a novelty. Youíve asked for Godís
forgiveness so often that you worry that the well of mercy
might run dry.
Want to sharpen your defenses a bit? Do you need help
in reinforcing your weaponry? Have you tumbled down the
manhole one too many times? Then consider the following
First, recognize Satan. Our war is not with flesh and blood
but with Satan himself. Do like Jesus did when Satan met
Him in the wilderness. Call him by name. Rip off his mask.
Denounce his disguise. He appears in the most innocent
clothing: a night out with the boys, a good book, a popular
movie, a pretty neighbor. But donít let him fool you! When
the urge to sin rears its ugly head, look him squarely in the
eye and call his bluff. "Get behind me, Satan!" "Not this
time, you dog of hell! Iíve walked your stinking corridors
before. Go back to the pit where you belong!" Whatever
you do, donít flirt with this fallen angel. Heíll thresh you like wheat.
Second, accept Godís forgiveness. Romans chapter 7 is
the emancipation proclamation for those of us who have a
tendency to tumble. Look at verse 15: "I do not
understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do,
but what I hate I do" (NIV).
Sound familiar? Read on. Verses 18 and 19: "For I have
the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For
what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not
want to doóthis I keep on doing" (NIV).
Man, that fellow has been reading my diary!
"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this
body of death?" (verse 24, NIV).
Please, Paul, donít stop there! Is there no oasis in this
barrenness of guilt? There is. Thank God and drink deeply
as you read verse 25 and verse 1 of chapter 8: "Thanks
be to Godóthrough Jesus Christ our Lord!ÖTherefore, there
is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (NIV).
Amen. There it is. You read it right. Underline it if you wish.
For those in Christ there is no condemnation. Absolutely
none. Claim the promise. Memorize the words. Accept the
cleansing. Throw out the guilt. Praise the Lord. AndÖwatch
out for open manholes.
Most gracious Heavenly Father, You are
indeed the author of reconciliation! For
You sent Your Son, Christ Jesus, to be the
means for giving a second chance to any who
would accept Him on faith as Your Son and
Your messenger! For those who can believe
in Him, ask forgiveness for their sins, and
truly repent -- willing to give up their sinful
ways -- He promised to provide help now,
and eternal life in the future! ... Remind me
that Jesus, who was Himself innocent of sin,
carried out Your first move toward
reconciliation at Your direction! ... Open my
heart to better understand Your ways.
In Jesus' name I pray.
Take Time To Pray...
It is the greatest power on earth!
When you pray...
"Say what you mean, and mean what you say."
"Pray without ceasing"
THE JESUS PRAYER
"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me"
(say 600 times a day)
Also say, "Jesus, Mary, I love you. Save souls" as often as you can>
"GOD GOVERNS THE WORLD
BUT PRAYER GOVERNS GOD"
Pray For Souls In Purgatory
There are more souls released from purgatory during the Consecration of the Mass than at any time. Christmas is the day of the year when most souls are delivered; then feast days of Our Lord, Our Lady and great saints. Souls receive much grace from prayers offered for them on their birthdays, day of baptism, anniversary of death.
The more we work for Poor Souls on earth the more others will pray for us, the more merciful will Christ be with us when we're in purgatory.
Our Lady asked that we pray very much for the poor souls; that we pray:
5 Apostles Creed...1 Hail Holy Queen
A prayer which would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said.
1 Our Father...1 Hail Mary...1 Glory Be
1 Requiem (Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them and may they rest in peace. Amen!)
Our Lord told St. Gertrude the Great that the following prayer would release 1,000 souls from Purgatory each time it is said.
The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well:
Our Lady said that if we pray the prayers,
I offer thee the most precious blood
of Thy Divine Son, Jesus,
in union with the Masses said throughout the world today,
for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory,
for sinners everywhere,
for sinners in the universal church,
those in my own home,
and within my family.
"we'll deliver so many souls, so many souls!"
"The Holy wounds are the treasure of treasures for the souls in Purgatory."
Bible...2 Macabees, Chapter 12, Verse 46:
"it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."
An indulgence, applicable ONLY to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted when the faithful devoutly visit a cemetery and pray for the departed.
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. ('Hail Mary" Prayer)
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word. ("Hail Mary" Prayer)
V. And the word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us (Hail Mary)
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee,
Thy grace into our hearts,
that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by His passion and cross be brought
to the glory of His resurrection,
through the same Christ Our Lord.
"Jesus, Mary, I love you, Save Souls..."
Prayer to St. Michael, the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in the day of Battle;
Be our safeguard against the wickedness
and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him,
we humbly pray,
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God,
cast into hell,
Satan and all the other evil spirits,
who prowl through the world,
seeking the ruin of souls.
(This powerful prayer of exorcism was composed by Pope Leo XIII; in a vision, he had been shown the fearful battle to be waged between Satan and St. Michael, over the Church of the future. Now, as never before, the Church needs the intercession of St. Michael! Please say this prayer every day.)
Mary, Queen of the Holy Angels...Pray for us
"Jesus, Mary, I love you, Save Souls"
Three Very Beautiful Prayers
Which are very useful to a dying person,
and should be prayed often as an act of mercy.
(I pray these prayers over a dying person whenever I can)
There once was a Pope in Rome who was surrounded by many sins. The Lord God struck him with a fatal illenss. When he saw that he was dying, he summoned Cardinals, Bishops and learned persons and said to them: "My dear friends! What comfort can you give me now that I must die, and when I deserve eternal damnation for my sins?" No one answered him. One of them, a pious curate named John, said: "Father, why do you doubt the Mercy of God?" The Pope replied: "What comfort can you give me now that I must die and fear that I'll be damned for my sins?" John replied: "I'll read three prayers over you: I hope, you'll be comforted and that you'll obtain Mercy from God." The Pope was unable to say more. The curate and all those present knelt and said an Our Father, then the following Prayers:
Lord Jesus Christ! Thou Son of God and Son of the Virgin Mary,
God and Man,
Thou who in fear sweated blood for us on the Mount
of Olives in order to bring peace,
and to offer Thy Most Holy Death to God
Thy Heavenly Father for the salvation of this dying person...
If it be, however, that by his sins he merits
eternal damnation, then may it be deflected from him.
This, O Eternal Father through Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Thy Dear Son, Who liveth and reigneth
in union with the Holy Spirit now and forever.
Lord Jesus Christ!
Thou Who meekly died on the trunk of the Cross for us,
submitting Thy Will completely to Thy Heavenly Father
in order to bring peace and to offer Thy most Holy Death
to Thy Heavenly Father in order to free...
and to hide from him
what he has earned with his sins;
grant this O Eternal Father!
Through Our Lord Jesus Thy Son,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee
in union with the Holy Spirit
now and forever.
Lord Jesus Christ!
Thou Who remained silent to speak
through the mouth of the Prophets:
I have drawn Thee to me through Eternal Love,
which Love drew Thee from Heaven into the body of the Virgin,
which Love drew Thee from the body of the Virgin into the valley of this needful world,
which Love kept Thee 33 years in this world,
and as a sign of Great Love,
Thou hast given Thy Body as True Food and Thy Holy Blood as True Drink,
as a sign of Great Love,
Thou has consented to be a prisoner and to be led
from one judge to another and as damned to death,
and hast consented to die and to be buried,
and truly risen,
and appeared to Thy Holy Mother and all the Holy Apostles,
and as a sign of Great Love Thou hast ascended,
under Thy own Strength and Power,
and sitteth at the Right Hand of God Thy
and Thou has sent Thy Holy Spirit into the hearts of Thy Apostles and the hearts of all
who hope and believe in Thee.
Through Thy Sign of Eternal Love,
open Heaven today and take this dying person...
and all his sins into the Realm of Thy Heavenly Father,
that he may reign with Thee now and forever.
Meanwhile the Pope died. The curate persevered to the third hour, then the Pope appeared to him in body and comforting him; his countenence as brilliant as the sun, his clothes as white as snow, and he said: "My dear brother! Whereas I was supposed to be a child of damnation I've become a child of happiness. As you recited the first Prayer many of my sins fell from me as rain from Heaven, and as you recited the second PrayerI was purified, as a goldsmith purified gold in a hot fire. I was still further purified as you recited the third Prayer. Then I saw Heaven open and the Lord Jesus standing on the Right Hand of God the Father Who said to me: "Come, all thy sins are forgiven thee, you'll be and remain in the Realm of My Father forever. Amen!"
With these words my soul separated from my body and the Angels of God led it to Eternal Joy.
As the curate heard this he said: "O Holy Father! I can't tell these things to anyone, for they won't believe me." Then the Pope said: "Truly I tell thee, the Angel of God stands with me and has written the prayers in letters of gold for the consolement of all sinners. If a person had committed all the sins in the world, but that the three Prayers shall have been read (over him) at his end (death), all his sins will be forgiven him, even though his soul was supposed to suffer until the Last Judgment, it will be redeemed (freed).
The person who hears them read, won't die an unhappy death, also in whose house they will be read. Therefore take these prayers and carry them into St. Peter's Basilica and lay them in the Chapel named the Assumption of Mary, for certain consolation. The person who will be near death, who reads them or hears them read gains 400 years indulgence for the days he was supposed to suffer in Purgatory because of his guilt. Also who reads this Prayer or hears it read, the hour of his death shall be revealed to him. Amen!
An Act of Contrition
O my God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins
because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell
but most of all because I've offended Thee, my God
Who art all good,
and deserving of all my love...
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy Grace
to confess my sins,
to do my penance
and to amend my life.
Tips on Prayer
Your prayers are strongest at the Consecration in Holy Mass
(raising of Host and Chalice).
Each time we look at The Most Blessed Sacrament our place in Heaven is raised forever.
(revealed by Our Lord to St. Gertrude the Great).