• Lee Iacocca is a legendary figure in the field of American car industry. He is a man who
    experienced the ups and downs of life in its full sense. When he published his book, “Lee Iacocca
    an Autobiography,” in 1984, millions of copies were sold out immediately. In all Business
    Management Schools, this book is a compulsory textbook. This book describes very touchingly
    how in the midst of severe sufferings of his childhood days, the catechism discipline and
    sacramental life which he received, sustained and supported him later in the difficulties and
    struggles of life. It goes like this: “Like many other families of that time, it is the solid faith in God
    that sustained us and helped us to go forward, We used to pray a lot . On every Sunday, we used
    to go to church and receive Holy Communion. In the early days, I used to doubt why it was
    necessary to confess before Holy Communion. But by the age of eighteen, I was fully convinced
    of the need of confession which the church demands. I used to tell my friends about it very frankly.
    Later in life, each confession gave me an indescribable experience of a new life, new spirit and
    enthusiasm. Besides, I used to attend the retreat conducted by the Jesuit priests regularly. These
    things helped me always to regulate my life, to realize the difference between good and evil and
    thus lead a good life.” If we want to lead a life of faith in the midst of the temptations of this world,
    we must be aware of the main temptations of life and how to encounter them.

    Temptations of Life


    A Christian is one who accepts God as Father, Jesus as Savior and Holy Spirit as the
    guide and lives according to the word of God and the teachings of the church. When he lives in
    this world full of evils and defects, he may have to face many temptations that make him deviate
    from a moral life in accordance with his faith. Temptations are an invitation and persuasion to do
    evil. These may lead man to sin. God permits temptations. But it is the will of God that we conquer
    these temptations and lead a good life. We must consider temptations as chances for success in
    life. The harder the effort, the greater will be our reward. God helps us to face any kind of
    temptations: “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not
    let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the
    way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1Cor 10:13).
    It is quiet natural to have worldly temptations. The greatness of a Christian is revealed
    in overcoming them. The modern world is led by the philosophy that everything is permissible. In
    such a context, greed, consumerist tendency, craze for power, unhealthy rivalry, pleasure
    seeking, hero worship and such other temptations come after us in attractive forms.

    1. Greed for Money


    Greed is the excessive or uncontrollable desire of man to earn money (1 Timo 6:10, Col
    3:5). Bible looks at greed as the greatest evil. Wealth is necessary for man. But he should not
    become a slave to it. It is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for the rich man
    to enter heaven (Mt. 19:24). Greed for money is an obstacle to enter heaven. When agricultural
    civilization gave way to industrial civilization use of money and its infinite possibilities increased.
    Along with money, there grow up an attitude of exploitation. Earning wealth becomes immoral
    when money is earned through exploitation. Excess of money facilitates capitalist attitude. Then
    man places money in the place of God. Greed for money is idolatry. The tenth commandment
    forbids uncontrolled amassing of material things. This commandment forbids the evil desire that
    arises from the craze for money and power that comes along with it. It also forbids the desire to
    do injustice in the case of material things and thus offend the neighbours.
    In modern society, we see businessmen who create artificial scarcity leading to sudden
    rise of price, monopoly of merchants, doctors who exploit the sick, lawyers who create false
    cases, officers who take bribe to give justice to the people, rulers who misuse their authority and
    power etc. Though their deeds aim only at the gain of money, very often they are given
    respectable position in society. Hence the culture of greed for money, which they create, spread
    all over the society. Then each one is tempted to earn money like them.


    2. Vainglory (False pride)


    The psychologist Abraham Maslow has presented human needs in the shape of a
    pyramid. Self-esteem is one among them. Self-esteem emerging from a sense of reality is the
    sign of a mature personality. Realistic self-evaluation is the sign of healthy personality.
    Vainglory is inordinate self-esteem. It is a personality defect like inferiority complex. Vainglory is
    one form of pride. When a person considers himself better than what he really is, he becomes a
    slave to false pride. When he keeps exaggerated ideas about one's family, wealth, education,
    employment, positions etc, it becomes vainglory. It is a misunderstanding that everything is the
    result of his efforts. They don't give due place either to God or others. To a certain extent the
    reason for bitter rivalry between different religions and individuals, cold war between nations
    and other conflicts is vainglory. Ultimately it leads to the downfall of individuals and misery of people .
    St. Paul says: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others
    as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of
    others” (Phi 2:3, 4).

    3 Consumerism (Consumerist Craze)


    Materially it is the desire to use worldly things excessively for one's own comfort and
    pleasure. Man needs a realization that this world is fleeting and it passes like a dream and
    pleasures are momentary only. When worldliness goes beyond limits, we fall into passions and
    sensory pleasures. The present world encourages consumerist culture. Advertisements
    provoking instincts, attractions of life and conveniences put forward by modernity, undue
    eagerness to seek comfort etc produce in human minds an unquenchable desire to enjoy
    material goods and comforts to the maximum. Others are tempted to imitate the wealthy. Finally it
    becomes a usual practice of the society, and then it becomes a custom and culture. Then a
    utilitarian vision develops giving value only for the useful. The other becomes a hell for those who
    are influenced by this ideology.

    4. Desire for Power

    Desire for power is the tendency to misuse the power and position for one's own selfish
    gains, instead of using them for service of humanity. Greed for money, vainglory etc tempt a
    person to have desire for power. Alfred Adler, the psychologist, in his book 'The Will to Power'
    depicts this as one of the factors helping men to go forward. If we do not control this desire for
    power, it will become the most terrible social disaster. Autocrats like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin; Mao
    Tse Dung etc were slaves to desire for power. When we look at authority as an end in itself,
    instead of a means to serve, it becomes dangerous. People in authority should become servants
    of society and not people who desire power. It is this desire for power that leads to the downfall of
    anyone in authority.
    God has given the right for individuals and communities to share His authority over the
    universe. God has given all authority and power for the good and prosperity of man. But when we
    use it for personal gain and the growth of one's organizations and movements only, desire for
    power becomes dangerous.


    5. Prodigality


    It is excessive use of money. God gave this universe and all its resources as a gift for the
    whole of humanity. Coming generations also have claim on it. When individuals, communities
    and nations decide that it is meant for them only, God's plan is questioned. Misuse of money
    causes social problems and unbalance of the environment. Prodigality is excessive use of
    resources. We cannot justify the prodigality displayed in family and community celebrations like
    marriage, birthdays and feast days. Misuse of earth and water is also prodigality.

    6. Craze for Luxuries

    It is an excessive desire for jewels and other things to adorn one. It is a danger fast
    growing through the influence of Medias and other decorative advertisements. This culture
    diffuses through blind imitation of sports stars and film stars. Globalization also helps to increase
    this fashion craze in young minds. We see the presence of riches, comforts and luxuries on one
    side and the tears and lamentations and groans of the poor who have no food to eat on the other
    side. In such a milieu, craze for luxurious things is a threat to social justice and is immoral.


    7. Pleasure Seeking


    It is a life-style looking only for pleasure using the comforts and conveniences obtained
    and obtainable. This is another temptation remaining close to craze for luxury. God's command
    is to work and earn bread. But man has a tendency to remain idle. Luxury and idleness goes
    hand in hand. Many see job as a means to earn money without doing the work. Modern structure
    and set-up, administration or political parties that support them, modern conveniences and
    technology make life mechanical. When body is given undue importance, soul is forgotten. The
    philosophy of pleasure seeking is : “Dead Yesterdays ,unborn tomorrows, only today is, so eat,
    drink and make merry”. But human life does not terminate with the end of the life in this world. It is
    meant for eternal life. Hence we should be careful not to lose eternal joy by indulging in the
    pleasures of this world.

    8. Unhealthy Competitions

    Competition is good to some intent. It will help to discover the dormant talents in
    oneself, to develop them and to increase self-esteem. It is an inspiring force. But when
    competitions become unhealthy, it will lead to dangerous trends. Parents, being overanxious
    about the future of their children, push them into unhealthy competitions. It does great harm to
    them. Excessive rivalry in curricular and extracurricular activities may lead children to hypocrisy,
    quarrel and even suicide. In today's globalized world, the principle of” survival of the fittest” is
    prominent in life. The weak, the retarded, the old and the sick have no place in this world. Muscle
    power succeeds everywhere. The immoral trend-goal justifies means-is growing as a slogan of
    today. The noble thought that existence is co-existence gives way to another trend of thought –
    namely all are enemies among themselves. This attitude is quite contrary to Christian charity.


    9. Hero Worship


    A person trapped in the circle of material things forgets God and make himself god and
    turns to be an idol-worshipper. He is not able to attain the noble goal of existence and he
    depends on people for material gain. Personal gods are very dear now because they fulfill only
    what is dear to persons. It is because of selfishness that man worships persons as god. We must
    respect persons who confronted life in an extraordinary way and succeeded. We must imitate
    their exemplary model. But it should not become worship. Heroes should not be made gods.
    Christian life is a pilgrimage. The goal of this pilgrimage is heaven. It is a journey to the
    Father with Christ. A Christian should have the power of faith to overcome anything that keeps him
    away from this God. This world is full of temptations. In such a situation, the faithful need
    diligence, discernment and precaution to conquer such temptations and progress.


    II. Let us Discuss


    1. A rich man gives a good percentage of his income for charitable services. Another rich man
    builds a house, using millions of rupees. How do you value them?
    2. Let us share in the class the insight you gained through the description of the experience of
    an elder person who overcame temptations in practical life.


    III. Activity

    In my life, I will avoid all luxury and extravagances.


    IV. Let us Enlighten our Hearts

    “For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of
    every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield,
    full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:16-17).


    Find out Answers

    Let us Enlighten our Hearts