St Gregory of Nazianzus said that what had not been assumed could not have been healed - here are some thoughts from Newman in the same vein.
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Repent and seek ye God whilst he is to be found.
Sin has inevitable consequences.
We must not attempt to go beyond our strength or we shall be discouraged and fail.
Penitence is worst at the start.
Faith will be tried, and we must prepare for this.
Newman continues with the theme of adapting ourselves to Christ.
Thought God will make the yoke easy, it is not naturally so to sinful man.
Here, Newman offers further reflections on the theme of self-denial.
God welcomes the penitent.
Let it not then distress Christians, even if they find themselves exposed to thoughts from which they turn with abhorrence and terror. Rather let such a trial bring before their thoughts, with something of vividness and distinctness, the condescension of the Son of God. For if it be a trial to us creatures and sinners to have thoughts alien from our hearts presented to us, what must have been the suffering to the Eternal Word, God of God, and Light of Light, Holy and True, to have been so subjected to Satan, that he could inflict every misery on Him short of sinning? Certainly it is a trial to us to have motives and feelings imputed to us before men, by the accuser of the brethren, which we never entertained; it is a trial to have ideas secretly suggested within, from which we shrink; it is a trial to us for Satan to be allowed so to mix his own thoughts with ours, that we feel guilty even when we are not; nay, to be able to set on fire our irrational nature, till in some sense we really sin against our will: but has not One gone before us more awful in His trial, more glorious in His victory? He was tempted in all points "like as we are, yet without sin." Surely here too, Christ's temptation speaks comfort and encouragement to us.
Here, a warning from Newman about the dangers of an unsteady approach to abstinence.
You cannot be attached to the world and Christ in equal measure.
Here Newman reflects upon the privations of Christ.
One of my favourite passages from Newman's sermons for this first Sunday in Lent.
Our Lady is the pattern for us.
In our temptations we need to remember we have angels watching over us.
Unsteadiness in keeping Lent can lead us astray. Here, Newman offers some sage advice.
Fasting can provoke satan, and we have to stay firm in Christ and know that through him we can triumph.
Fasting is enjoined on us by Our Lord's example and that of others. So, too, is prayer.