Father Fortea, can we be tempted beyond our strength to resist?
No. Though we are weak creatures, God cares for us as His children. As the Bible states, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).
God permits us to be tempted to test our obedience and freely choose His will. In the Bible, just before His passion, Jesus said to St. Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Lk 22:31). “Demanded” implies that the temptation must be allowed by God. Not to affirm this doctrine would mean that we are in the hands of blind destiny, and anyone could be tempted with a power and intensity beyond his strength to resist. Therefore, the message is clear and comforting: God, as our Father, watches out so that none of His children are pressured beyond what they are capable of. We can see in this the wisdom of the old proverb: “God claims but sustains.” He gives each the grace to be strong in the face of temptation and choose good instead of evil.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.
Art for this post which asks the question “Can we be tempted beyond our strength to resist?”: St. Catherine of Siena Besieged by Demons, ca 1500, Anonymous (Lesser Poland), artyzm.com; PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; detail of Padre José Antonio Fortea 2017, photographed by Elgatoconbotaselgatoconbotas, 5 May 2017 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International; both Wikimedia Commons. Cover of “Interview with an Exorcist” used with permission, all rights reserved.