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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.

"It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience."
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come."
Thomas á Kempis

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