"We cannot always have access to a spiritual Father for counsel in our actions, and particularly in our doubts; but reading will abundantly supply his place by giving us lights and directions to escape the illusions of the devil and of our own self-love, and at the same time to submit to the divine will." St. Alphonsus Liguori
One of my Lenten observances this year was to try to spend daily time with some good quality spiritual reading. I was fortunate in finding plenty in the lending bookshelf of a local Catholic church, and took home 'The Warfare of the Soul' by Shirley Hughson, who was I think, an Anglican priest of the Order of the Holy Cross.
'The Warfare' is a gem of a book which has shone (and continues to) a bright light into the state of my spiritual life, and my participation in the war against evil.
It has increased my self knowlege in terms of habitual faults, qualities, traits, tendencies, weak areas which need to be strengthened and shown me how with the help of God, to resist temptation to sin, especially habitual sin.
There is a wonderful section on temptation from which I quote a short piece:
".....our vigilance must be especially directed against the temptations to which we have already yielded.When a sin has once found entrance, it is easy for it to enter again, not only because experience of the sin itself makes it attractive, but because psychologically it is easy to do the thing we have done before............similarly we must guard the particular faculty that we find has led us into sin. Is it pride of intellect, the desire to show what little we know, the instinctive tendency to monopolize conversation, or to instruct and correct others? Or is it a weakness that has its seat in our affections, a tendency to condone sin in those we love, or a critical spirit against those for whom we have no natural affinity? Or perhaps it is a sin of speech; the unkind word we so easily speak, the idle boast of our own achievements......"
Anyone interested in reading this wonderful book can do so online here or buy your own copy here