In order to persevere in well-doing, our confidence must not rest on our good resolutions. When we build on the foundation of our own strength our edifice is sure to fall.
To maintain ourselves in the grace of God it is necessary, therefore, to place our hope in the merits of Jesus Christ. With His assistance we shall persevere till death, even though we be assailed by all the powers of earth and Hell.
There may be times when temptations are so violent that sin seems unavoidable. We must be on our guard at such times not to lose courage and give up the struggle. Our only resource is to hasten to Jesus Crucified. He and He alone can sustain us. The Lord permits that from time to time even the saints have such storms to endure.
St. Paul says of himself: "We were pressed out of measure above our strength, so that we were weary even of life." (2 Cor. 1:8).
Although, as we have already seen, the power to avoid sin is not from ourselves but from the grace of God, we must at the same time be careful not to render ourselves weaker than we already are. There are certain faults that we consider of no account, and yet they may be the reason why God withdraws His supernatural light, and thus the power of the devil is increased.
Such faults are the desire to be regarded as learned and distinguished by the world; vanity in dress; the seeking for superfluous comforts and luxuries; the habit of showing oneself offended by every unkind word or want of attention; the inordinate desire to please others; the omission of exercises of piety from human respect; disobedience in little things; little aversions that are fostered in the heart; little lies and jokes at the expense of charity; loss of time through idle conversations or a greediness for news; in a word, every attachment for earthly things, and every gratification of self-love may give the enemy an opportunity of accomplishing our destruction. At all events, faults of this kind committed with deliberation deprive us of that assistance of our Lord which would protect us from falling into sin.St. Alphonsus Liguori,