Sometimes I think we are tempted, and too often we give in, to believe that the call to holiness is for the ‘big-timers’ who toil constantly in the work of the Kingdom of God. This is a lie! By baptism all Christians have received the call to grow in holiness daily and to seek to remove from their lives everything that would hinder this goal! The call to holiness is the universal call upon every member of the Church and even the human race if you want to think of it in those terms!

St Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to put behind them the ways of their past life. We all know the struggle to combat the sin in our lives once we have allowed it to enter in. How often have we rued the day we first allowed a particular sin into our lives? It would be so much easier to combat the sin if I had not allowed it in that very first time. Well, let us pray that we learn from our mistakes and do not allow any new sins to become problems for us. We already have more than enough to deal with as it is!

St Paul is aware of his own struggle against sin. He knows what it is like to be tempted (Rom7). However, he is not a man to make excuses for sin and nor is he going to let us off easily either! Let us seek out the grace of God in this battle against sin and seek to overcome it sooner rather than later. We have received the Holy Spirit into our hearts precisely for this purpose – to root out sin and replace it with holiness and virtue. This is one of the critical dynamics at work here – namely that when we remove sin from our lives it is just as important to replace it with something holy – a virtue so that there is no room for the sin to come back after we have banished it. One practical aspect of this is to choose to avoid the situations where we might be tempted in order that we do not play around with temptation to that sin any more.

How serious am I in my fight against the various sins in my life? Am I willing to do everything necessary to overcome sin? If not, then I had better start praying for that precise grace right now!

Holy Spirit, never allow me to take sin and temptation too lightly. Help me to have a healthy fear of sin so that I will never willingly place myself in the path of temptation.