Canisius | 03 March, 2009 09:29
In his entry for the First Sunday of Lent (sorry I don't have the page numbers available), Gueranger follows the Fathers of the Church in correlating the three temptations of Christ with the three temptations in the world: the concupiscence of the eyes, the concupiscence of the flesh, and the pride of life. He then points out that every temptation assailing a man falls under one of these three headings, and exhorts the reader to note how Jesus responds to each of them, namely by quoting Scripture and by repelling the temptation without delay.
He then goes on to dwell profitably on this latter point about the danger of delay with temptation. One must repel the temptation immediately and without listening further! But that prior point about Scripture is interesting.
If every temptation is one of these three kinds, and Jesus offers a Scripture in response to each of the three, then the Christian has in these three Old Testament quotations three silver bullets, so to speak, against every temptation. These would be very important lines to memorize and to repeat many times throughout the day!
The difficulty is that sometimes it is hard to see how a given temptation fits into the three categories. Sometimes a temptation that clearly fits is nonetheless difficult to categorize in the moment because one's thought is clouded by the temptation itself. Other temptations, such as the temptation to anger, are just difficult to fit in general. I have this vague recollection that St. Thomas Aquinas offers an account of how such sins fit into the three-fold division, but I can't recall how it goes.