Holy Stratagem! # 3: Resist the Devil
Resist the devil and he will flee from you – James 4: 7
Do you know that the devil and his minions have a well-developed plan for your life? They have studied you since the time you entered this world. They have reviewed all of the case files. They have watched your parents and siblings, counted every offence against you, every potential embarrassment, to see how it might provide an opportunity for them to undo you. They have recorded all of your words and actions so as to sum you up. Your assigned devil has earned a Ph.D. in “your life.” His diploma reads the motto “Anything but God” University.
Remember that the devils are far smarter than you, but they are blind to grace. So grace is your shield and defense. Never try to reason with the devil. Only have recourse to all of heaven. When a temptation comes, employ all the wisdom of the Church – mental prayer, the rosary, the many chaplets, the sacraments, employ the aide of your special saints and especially your guardian angel. If the devil sees you flee to God when he makes himself known through some temptation or struggle, he will let up. He wants you far away from God, not the nearer.
This also means that the more advanced you are in your spiritual life, the craftier the devils become. But remember that you are no match for the devil’s wit. All you can do is beg the help of Jesus and Mary. The movements of the soul you may entrust to God, but never enter into dialogue with the devil. Tell God that you would rather die than commit any sin, and He will honor that prayer.
But if you do fall, you forget our Lord’s passion and love at your own peril. If you fall, whether it is the flesh, the devil or the world that led you there, remember that the devil swoops in to make you doubt God’s love and grace. He spits venomous lies, telling you that God’s love is insufficient, that you are beyond grace and forgiveness, and that you might as well give up all your good works and devotions that are in the service of God. In these moments, fling yourself onto the cross of our Lord. Accept his love and your own weakness, and submit yourself to the cleansing fires of God’s mercy.
Take encouragement from the words of St. Ignatius:
…it is the way of the enemy to weaken and lose heart, his temptations taking flight, when the person who is exercising himself in spiritual things opposes a bold front against the temptations of the enemy, doing diametrically the opposite.
This post is a part of a weekly series on the spiritual strategies given us by God to make us holy through: His sacred scripture, His Sacred Tradition or through His Holy Saints.