All things God has made are good because creatures reflect his goodness. God also has placed into the human heart a desire for the good. What than causes temptation? Temptation lies in our heart's illusory desire for a created good seen only as a means of self satisfaction. It fails to take into consideration the harm it may do to self or others and that temporal goods are only means to our final end which is God. For example, Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. In doing so he was driven by the desire for wealth which caused the death of an innocent man. Judas himself driven by despair killed himself and in doing so may have lost his final good, life eternal with God.

God is never tempted because there is no greater good than himself and He does not tempt anyone because He sent Christ to deliver us from evil. The apostle James expresses this truth thus, "When tempted no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed," (Jas 1:13­14).

HOW ARE WE THAN TO INTERPRET "AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"?

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2846 we read, "It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both 'do not allow us to enter into temptation' and 'do not let us yield to temptation" The difficulty, therefore, is not in the Greek verb but in the limited vocabulary of the English language.

HOW CAN I OVERCOME TEMPTATIONS?

The simplest way to overcome our unruly desires is given to us by Thomas à Kempis in the Imitation of Christ as he states:

"Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks."

But Deliver Us From Evil