I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.
The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.
For I do not do the good I want,
but I do the evil I do not want.
Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it,
but sin that dwells in me.
So, then, I discover the principle
that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle
at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.
Miserable one that I am!
Who will deliver me from this mortal body?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 7:18-25a)
We cannot avoid temptation. It looks us square in the eye, smack dab in the face.
That is because we are frail, mortal, corruptible beings. That is the very tragic consequence of original sin.
The greatest saint would tell you of his or her weakness that would lead to sin.
Paul really says a mouthful in today’s portion of his letter to the early Church in Rome.
He feels miserable. Absolutely miserable.
Because he knows what is right. He knows what is good. He knows what God asks of him.
And he doesn’t do it.
He doesn’t do it because, try as hard as he might, he finds himself swayed by temptation and choosing to sin. He “does the evil [he does] not want to do.”
He is, in my opinion, the ultimate spokesperson for all of us.
I know, in my life, I am not terribly proud of decisions that I have made throughout the years. There have been times that I clearly knew what was right but caved in to temptation and chose what was wrong. And I, like Paul, would feel miserable, absolutely miserable.
There is deliverance, though. That will happen the day the Lord calls us to Himself and delivers us from these corruptible, mortal frames and clothes us with incorruptibility and immortality.
For our part, we have to continue to struggle against our baser nature. We have to ask God for the grace to reject temptation. We have to count on a God who loves us and guides us.
FAITH ACTION: Ask the Lord to give you the grace that you need to reject temptation this day.