I don't like it when ugly, vile, distressing thoughts barge into the 'foyer' of my mind. Because I haven't been called out of the world in a physical sense, these have fairly easy access. At any moment, they might whisper from newspapers, blare from TVs, and sneak in via conversations overheard in checkout lines.
I do have influence over some of what's allowed to enter. I know how to change a television channel. I do not have to attend movies in which I know there are unacceptable scenes. I can often switch topics if someone's conversation veers into areas of gossip. I realize that once disturbing or sinful thoughts have gained admittance, they often set up camp and yammer at me
through the grille for days or weeks to come. They can cause my mind to
wander into areas where I do not want it to go. If entertained, they can lead me right into sin.
I am well advised, therefore, to boot unholy ideas from my mind at the earliest possible moment. Mine is not a wise choice if I spend time with them, entertain them, or invite them in to sit down and present their case. "When an evil thought is presented to the mind," said St. Alphonsus Liguori, "we must immediately
endeavour to turn our thoughts to God."
"Our thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that
deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent,
virtuous, or worthy of praise." (Philippians 4:8)
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up
against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive, to make
it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
"Certain attitudes deriving from the mentality of 'this present
world' can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant." (Catechism of
the Catholic Church 2727)
"Fix your thoughts on Jesus, Whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest." (Hebrews 3:1)
"Close your ears to the whisperings of hell and bravely oppose its onslaughts." (St. Clare)
"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the
renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God's will, His
good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
"Disown by a brief and simple act every kind of thought that is
contrary to divine love, saying: 'I renounce all thoughts that are not
for You, O my God; I disown them and cast them off forever.' And then
when they attack you, you do not have to do anything except to say from
time to time: 'O God I have rejected this, You know I have.'" (St.
Francis de Sales)
Text not in quotes © 2015 Nancy Shuman