Satan, be gone!

One Sunday morning, everyone in one bright, beautiful, tiny town got up early and went to the local church. Before Mass started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews when suddenly Satan appeared. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate.

Soon everyone was evacuated from the church, except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew, not moving, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence. Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to the man and said, "Don't you know who I am?" The man replied, "Yep, sure do." Satan asked, "Aren't you afraid of me?" "Nope, sure ain't," said the man. Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried, "Why aren't you afraid of me?" The man calmly replied, "Been married to your sister for over 48 years."

There is a devil. The greatest fallacy of our age is denying his existence. The greatest work of the devil is that he has made us believe that he does not exist. Where there is evil, there is the devil.

The devil is our enemy and this is one enemy we should not love. The devil is the best tempter and most sensual seducer. The devil is relentless and will never stop until we have fallen into sin because he wants us to be with him in hell forever. He/She/It will tempt us to consider ourselves as better than God or the chance to play God with every temptation we face.

When Jesus was in the desert for forty days, he was tempted by the devil. We know these temptations ourselves. They are normal desires, familiar yearnings and natural hunger for ordinary things. They come from our hunger for more than what we need, our desire for more appreciation from what we get, and our yearning for more control from what we want.

There is always temptation for people to want more in life than what they need, to turn every stone they have into bread even when they are not hungry. The good Lord knows better. He showed us the way to overcome this through the miracle of the Eucharist. No longer are stones turned into bread, but bread is changed into His Body, which satisfies eternal hunger.

There is always temptation for people to sacrifice their own ideals and beliefs for the sake of recognition, regard and reputation. The good Lord knows better. He overcame the tempting spectacle of popularity by teaching us the virtue of humility. No longer do we need to be thrown off the cliff just to get the approval and recognition of people, but allow ourselves to be thrown to the approval and recognition of our God. The respect of those we respect is more than the applause of the multitude.

There is always temptation for some people to use wicked and easy means for their objectives and ends. The good Lord knows better. There is no easy way to the Cross. There is no shortcut to salvation. He overcame the temptation of controlling the universe through his commanding word, “Get away, Satan!”

Here then is the solution to all the temptations of the delightful odor of money, the exciting appeal of popularity and the sweet taste of power. It lies on the power of prayer. It lies on the Cross. Toss away temptation with the sign of the Cross. Pray.

We will always be tempted for as long as we live. That is why we need to pray and pray hardly for those who try to manipulate and control others and those who find it hard to losing their power and abilities.

Opportunity knocks once, but temptations tirelessly ring the doorbell. That is why we need to pray and pray more for those who find money and property more valuable than their morality and those who find security in popular acclaim and fleeting recognition.

There are those who spread a gospel of greed and selfishness and never of love and trust. There are those who do not see the blessings of their life, the goodness in their attitudes and the truth in their convictions. Pray for them. Pray with them. For we are all human, weak and prone to fail and fall.

It is in times of testing or trial that we are called upon to prove our true identity and character, who we are and whose we are. Whether we are married to the devil’s sister for 48 years or not, we should never be afraid of the devil.

We are still in command. We have the choice. We have the will to say the same thing that Jesus did. Be gone, Satan. Only the Lord shall you worship, only the Lord shall you serve. Satan, be gone!

13 March 2011

No comments: