Sunday, March 13, 2011
Fending off Attacks From The Father of Lies
My grandmother never used the prince of darkness' name, and it's a habit I too have acquired. I prefer to use descriptions of what he is. Although he is unfortunately a very real entity, he is also a persona non grata and as such, my lips shall not mention his name.
I have been hearing more and more about people struggling with temptation. We're not even a week into Lent and for some folks, the attacks have been pretty bad, myself included. Cathy at Recovering Dissident Catholic mentioned a prayer chain, whereby we pray for one another and I commented that this brought to my mind an image, one of the great deceiver being bound and rendered powerless by the prayers offered, especially to Mary, to defeat his evil promptings. With every prayer, the chain would grow heavier and more binding and he would be slowed as he clanged his way from soul to soul.
This Lent, every time you are tempted in the least to do, say or think something you know you shouldn't, say a Hail Mary for you and one for someone else. You can rest assured the evil lurker is not just after your soul and what a great act of charity to think of someone else as well as yourself. It has been said by those more learned than me that our Blessed Mother is no shrinking violet. That's why the evil one told the Rome exorcist, Father Gabriel Amorth, that every Hail Mary is a hammer blow to his head and that of his minions. My God, can you imagine what one Rosary would do to him?
There is an aid I use to help myself not go down a road I shouldn't. Do you know how when you forget what you're going to do, if you retrace your steps, it will often come back to you? With sin, it can work the same way, only opposite. Sometimes something seemingly innocuous will lead to some obscene thought or image. I take note of what it is that prompted that chain of consciousness, and then I make sure not to go down that path again. I know, it's Avoiding Temptation 101 for Dummies, but I am a dummy and have allowed myself to head in the wrong direction too many times. I hear the voice that yells "Stop!" and the next thing you know, I see Our Lord slipping away from me, like a boat whose moorings have come undone.
It is well worth noting again that a time of great holiness is the time to be at most on your guard. Think of yourself dressed all in white and strolling along when a truck comes out of nowhere and splashes mud all over your nice clothes. Had you seen the truck coming, you would have stepped away from the puddle to a place where you couldn't get splashed. The driver would not have gotten nearly as much glee had you already been filthy. He would have looked for someone else to soil.
Today's Gospel is a reminder to us that so far as the great deceiver is concerned, no one is off limits to his attacks, not even Our Lord. Although Jesus might have been weakened physically by his time in the desert, it's no accident that he spent 40 days praying and fasting. I would do well to follow His example.
Posted by TLW at 10:14 AM