I entered the gift shop with a view to doing a little Christmas shopping, when my eye alighted upon a fetching display right in the centre of the boutique. “Oh no!” I thought. “Lead me not into temptation!”

The shop display in question showed an array of gorgeous handbags. I have, unfortunately, an addiction to handbags (and totes, and bags of all description). I could quite easily be described as a bag lady, and if I departed this world tomorrow morning, my heirs and successors would have to wade through a shameful cache of various bags, purses and reticules. Even though I regularly donate some to the charity shops, there always remain blushingly many.

“Oh no,” I repeated to myself. “Lead me not into temptation.” Avert the eyes. No justification for perusing, let alone considering purchasing, another handbag, however beguiling they look.

Thankfully, I did not succumb. Although there was another occasion later when again my gimlet eye alighted upon a handbag display – in a museum shop, of all places.

We all have our little failings and foibles and the handbag addiction, in the sum of things, is a minor weakness indeed. But the episode was a useful reminder to me that the phrase “Lead us not into temptation” can have an apt application.

Pope Francis is now critical of this phrase from the Lord’s Prayer. It seems to be implying that the Lord might be leading us into temptation, and that is not what a loving Father does.

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