Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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Jesus began his Public Life by being led into the desert by the Holy Spirit to be tested by the devil. As we begin our Public Life this Lent we also will be tested by the devil. So it will be well for us to know who the devil he is, what the devil he does and how the devil he does it.

IS THERE A DEVIL? Scripture and Tradition tells us that there is. “Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil.” (Catechism 391)

WHO THE DEVIL HE IS? The devil is a fallen angel endowed with a powerful intellect and who has had centuries of experience dealing with human nature. We are no match for him so we do not argue with him. Reference to him is found throughout Scripture. We have come a long way when we realize that Satan is not just a storybook character.

WHAT THE DEVIL HE DOES? The devil has a maximum and a minimum goal. The devil’s maximum goal is to make us lose your soul and help others to lose theirs. His minimum goal is to make us lower our ideals and lessen our glory to God; to keep us lukewarm and satisfied with “golden mediocrity.”

HOW THE DEVIL HE DOES IT? The devil uses the world (counter culture) and the flesh (concupiscence), and our pride (absolute self-autonomy) in tempting us to sin. Like a great military general he attacks our weak spot, our predominant fault. Like a false lover he wants us to keep the temptation to our self, because if we tell it to others he will be revealed. If we are afraid he is ferocious, if we are brave he is weak. He is the “Father of Lies,” and often appears as an angel of light. He invites us not to good but to an APPARENT good. DISCOURAGEMENT is his greatest weapon. He is often portrayed in RED, but he should be portrayed in BLUE, for he is the FATHER OF THE BLUES.

IT IS WELL FOR US TO REMEMBER THAT TEMPTATION IS NOT A SIN. It is an invitation to sin. It carries with it a RSVP. And if we do not RSVP it not only is not a sin but it is an act of virtue. “We cannot stop a bird from flying over our head, but we can stop him from building a nest in our hair.”

It is also good to remember that God does not tempt us. God permits us to be tempted. And he does not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength. As he told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So let us prepare ourselves to be tempted. And let us not be afraid because the Lord has conquered “the world, the flesh and the devil.”



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