Recently, I posted blog on the existence of the devil and hell because so often in today’s world these facts are ignored or dismissed by otherwise practicing Christians and their pastors. I have already taken up the notion in past posts of “once saved always saved’ as nonsense. We are all called to daily conversion. If we deny we are sinners then too we deny Jesus Christ because there would be no need of a Savior.
The Church has always taught the reality of the devil, and the possibility of being eternally damned along with him as a result of the spiritual warfare he wages against us. It is absolutely disastrous to deny or ignore the devil’s existence. Satan hates each one of us personally, and is always plotting and working against us, seeking our eternal damnation. .
The devil studies us very carefully, taking note of our strengths and weaknesses, our habits and inclinations. He shrewdly chooses the particular temptations best suited to overcome us, all the while striving to work behind the scenes without us suspecting anything. It is our duty to guard against this threat and use the spiritual weapons and defenses the Lord provides us through His Church.
The Church speaks of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” which are anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and sloth or laziness. Every human being is weak or easily tempted in at least one of these areas, so these are usually the focus of the devil’s attacks.
COMMENTARY SEVEN DEADLY SINS
The devil wants us to nurse grudges and refuse to forgive other people, to become impatient with their failings, to overreact to the things about them that annoy us.
MEEKNESS – Where the sin of wrath is about quick temper and unnecessary vengeance, the virtue of meekness focuses on patiently seeking appropriate resolution to conflicts, and on the ability to forgive and show mercy.
Satan tries to use the sin of envy against us by getting us to compare ourselves with others, to adopt an “entitlement mentality,” and to consider ourselves better than those around us.
KINDNESS (CHARITY) – is the virtue which counters the sin of envy. Envy is in contradiction to God’s law of love. It manifests itself in our unhappiness at someone else’s success or good fortune. Conversely, kindness and brotherly love manifests itself in the unprejudiced, compassionate and charitable concern for others.
We Americans compared to most people are very self indulgent. The devil has found gluttony to be a fertile field for his evil seeds. He tempts us to overdo life’s legitimate pleasures, to disdain or reject sacrifice and self-control, and to ignore other people’s poverty or suffering.
TEMPERANCE – The virtue of temperance or abstinence counters the sin of gluttony. To be gluttonous is to over-indulge. On the opposite hand, the virtue of temperance is centered on self-control and moderation.
Satan tempts us to want more money and possessions, more technology and convenience, and more luxury and leisure—when we should instead be concerned with storing up treasure for ourselves in heaven.
GENEROSITY – is the virtue that is counter to greed, the sin of immoderate desire for earthly things. Generosity focuses on appropriate concern for earthly things and a willingness to give freely and share with others from our blessings and abundance.
Lust is a particularly fertile field for the devil’s seeds. Satan is constantly tempting us to misuse sex, to glorify and expose our bodies, and to treat other people as objects for our own pleasure.
CHASTITY – Chastity is the counter-virtue to the sin of lust. Chastity embraces moral wholesomeness and purity, and in both thought and action treats God’s gift of sexuality with due reverence and respect.
Pride is the sin which transformed Lucifer, the greatest of all the angels into the hideous creature of Satan.
Misery loves company and so the devil delights in using this sin against us. He wants us to think, “I’m superior to others, I know what’s best for me, and no one is going to tell me how to live my life”—causing us to reject the God-given authority and saving power of the Church.
HUMILITY – Humility is the virtue that counters pride. Pride is a sin based on undue and inappropriate appreciation of one’s self worth. Conversely, the virtue of humility is about modest behavior, selflessness and the giving of respect. “It was Pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”. – St. Augustine
Sloth is the desire for ease. Sloth, as a capital sin, refers to laziness in matters of Faith. The slothful person is unwilling to put out the effort to take advantage of the means of salvation, prayer, sacraments, almsgiving etc. Satan wants us to settle for being good enough—for that may eventually allow him to turn us against God.
DILIGENCE (PERSEVERANCE) is the virtue which acts as a counter to the sin of sloth.. Diligence combats laziness and encourages appropriately zealous attitudes toward living and sharing the Faith.
CONCLUSION FIGHTING BACK
The devil in his wiles uses many methods to snare us into one of the seven capital sins, such as poisoning relationships especially in families, distracting us with life concerns, too busy to notice God or call upon Him, inflating our egos so as to feel superior and want more attention, power, wealth, sex, our idols today. Above all Satan does not want us to worship or obey God.
How do we fight back these seeds of destruction! The most potent weed-killer against Satan’s evil seeds of spiritual destruction is humility. The more we humble ourselves, the more God’s grace can be at work within us, helping us overcome our faults and grow in holiness.
What spiritual fertilizer is available to us? First, the Sacrament of Reconciliation to clean up, wash up our souls and receive nourishment for the future. We wash our cars afterall…The devil is getting no foothold in my soul and when he tries again we are going to wash him out again and again….
Sunday Mass and worthy reception of Holy Communion is essential. By receiving Jesus, and loving Him in our heart on earth, He will be no stranger when we get to heaven. Throw in a daily Mass or two as well. Other valuable tools are reading the Bible, start with the Gospels, don’t try to read the Bible from beginning to end. It wasn’t intended to be read that way, set aside prayer time, seeking God’s guidance in all our decisions, learning more about our Catholic faith, submitting to the authority of the Church on moral and religious issues, praying for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in purgatory,
When we pray for others we are expressing the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We acknowledge God’s goodness and mercy and accept His sovereignty and Divine Providence. The devil is out there but as Jesus told us over and over again, there is nothing to fear.
God’s grace is sufficient for us. How do we know; God told us it was, “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times* I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me” (St. Paul)
2 Corinithians 12:9.