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80. The Devil as the Cause of Sin

1. The devil cannot be the direct cause of human sin, for hecannot directly move man's will. God is the only external causethat candirectly move the will, and God never moves the willto sin. The will moves itself to its object. The devil may induceman to sin by persuasion, by presenting attractive objects to humanappetites. Only thus can the devil cause man to sin.

2. The devil exercises his powers of persuasion bystirring a man's imagination and by cooperating with whatevermoves the sensitive appetites. Thus does the devilinwardly instigate a man to sin.

3. In a man who is possessed, the devil may compel acts ofsin, but these are not human acts of the man himself, for he is notfree. For the rest, the devil can in no wise compel a man tosin.

4. In one sense the devil is the cause of every human sin,for he induced the first man to commit the sin that has infectedhuman nature with the tendency to sin. But apart from this, thedevil is not the cause of all human sins. Origen (PeriArchon. iii) says that even if the devil were to cease toexist, man would still be subject to inordinate desires and to theabuse of free will by sin.

"Obedience is the true holocaust which we sacrifice to God on the altar of our hearts."
St Philip Neri

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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