459. Do spirits influence our thoughts and our actions?
“Their influence upon them is greater than you suppose, for it is very often they who direct both.”
460. Have we some thoughts that originate with ourselves, and others that are suggested to us?
“Your soul is a spirit who thinks. You must have observed that many thoughts, and frequently very opposite ones, come into your mind reference to the same subject, and at the same time. In such cases, some of them are your own, and some are ours. This is the cause of your uncertainties, because you have thus in your mind two ideas that are opposed to each other.”
461. How can we distinguish between the thoughts which are our own and those which are suggested to us?
“When a thought is suggested, it is like a voice speaking to you. Your own thoughts are generally those which first occur to you. In point of fact, this distinction is not of much practical importance for you, and it is often better for you not to be able to make it. Man’s action is thus left in greater freedom. If he decides for the right road, he does so more spontaneously; if he takes the wrong one, he is more distinctly responsible for his mistake.”
462. Do men of intelligence and genius always draw their ideas from their own minds?
“Their ideas sometimes come from their own spirit; hut they arc often suggested to them by other spirits who judge them to be capable of understanding them, and worthy of transmitting them. When they do not find the required ideas in themselves, they make an unconscious appeal for inspiration; a sort of evocation that they make without being aware of what they are doing.”
If it were useful for us to be able to distinguish clearly between our own thoughts and those Which are suggested to us, God would have given us the means of doing so, as he has given us that of distinguishing between day and night. When a matter has been left by Providence in a state of vagueness, it has been left so because it is better for us.
463. It is sometimes said that our first thought is always the best, is this true?
“It may be good or bad according to the nature of the incarnated spirit. It is always well to listen to good inspirations.”
464. How can we ascertain whether a suggested thought comes from a good spirit or from an evil one?
“Study its quality. Good spirits give only good counsels. It is for you to distinguish between the good and the bad.”
465. To what end do imperfect spirits incite us to evil?
“To make you suffer as they do themselves.”
– Does that lessen their own sufferings?
“No; but they do so from jealousy of those who are happier than themselves.”
– What kind of sufferings do they wish to make us undergo?
“Those which result from being of an inferior order, and far removed from God.”
466. Why does God permit spirits to incite us to evil?
“Imperfect spirits are used by Providence as instruments for trying men’s faith and constancy in well-doing. You, being a spirit, must advance in the knowledge of the infinite. It is for this end that you are made to pass through the trials of evil in order to attain to goodness. Our mission is to lead you into the right road. When you are acted upon by evil influences, it is because you attract evil spirits to you by your evil desires, for evil spirits always come to aid you in doing the evil you desire to do; they can only help you to do wrong when you give way to evil desires. If you are inclined to commit murder, you will have about you a swarm of spirits who will keep this inclination alive in you; but you will also have others about you who will try to influence you for good, which restores the balance, and leaves you of your decision.”
It is thus that God leaves to our conscience the choice or the road we decide to follow, and the liberty of yielding to one or other of the opposing influences that act upon us.
467. Can we free ourselves from the influence of the spirits who incite us to evil?
“Yes; for they only attach themselves to those who attract them by the evil nature of their thoughts and desires.”
469. By what means can we neutralise the influence of evil spirits?
“By doing only what is right, and putting all your trust in God, you repel the influence of inferior spirits, and prevent them from obtaining power over you. Take care not to listen to the suggestions of spirits who inspire you with evil thoughts, stir up discord among you, and excite in you evil passions. Distrust especially those who flatter your pride, for, in so doing, they attack you on your weakest side. This is why Jesus makes you say in the Lord’s Prayer, “Let us not succumb to temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
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