A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.
It has never been easy to be a teenager. Crossing the border from childhood to adulthood comes with an assortment of demons to fight and when you are thirteen year old Michelangelo, the experience comes out in paint. That’s right, he was thirteen when he painted The Torment of Saint Anthony.
The church celebrates Saint Anthony today (January 17) and his life was instructive. He inherited wealth from his parents at age twenty but gave it all away to live in simplicity and solitude, devoting himself to contemplation and prayer. He is known for being the father of monasticism and for his ability to battle the devil against temptations of every stripe.
The Christian’s goal is to become more Christ-like everyday. This is called sanctification and it has never been easy. We live in a broken world in which sin and its consequence is all around us. Thank God, the strength of the Christian is with the Holy Spirit who stands ready to guide and empower our every step. Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Art: The Torment of Saint Anthony by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)