Fear the Devil or My Own Venial Sins?
Dear Saint Teresa, which should I fear more, the devil, or my own venial sins?
If this Lord is powerful, as I see that He is and I know that He is, and if the devils are His slaves (and there is no doubt about this because it’s a matter of faith), what evil can they do to me since I am a servant of this Lord and King? Why shouldn’t I have the fortitude to engage in combat with all of hell?
May it please His majesty that we fear Him whom we ought to fear and understand that more harm can come to us from one venial sin than from all hell together – for this is so.
From Saint Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, in The Book of Her Life, Chapter 25
Art: Teresa of Avila, François Pascal Simon Gérard, 1827, PD-US copyright term of life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.