Temptation: Satan Will Do All He Can To Separate Us From The Love Of Christ

Satan’s Greatest Victory:  He Has Convinced The World That He Does Not Exist

Fr. James Farfaglia – A Christian magazine once surveyed their subscribers regarding the areas of their greatest spiritual challenges.  The results showed that their greatest temptation was materialism.  After materialism, followed pride, self-centeredness, laziness, anger, lust, envy, gluttony and finally lying.

The survey respondents noted temptations were frequent and more forceful when they had neglected their time with God and when they were physically tired.  They stated that the ability to resist temptation was made easier by a strong spiritual life, avoiding compromising situations and being accountable to someone.

Temptation will always be a part of our lives.  No matter our age or the circumstances of our lives, temptation will be something that we have to deal with until the end of our journey here on earth.

Not every temptation is caused by Satan, so we need to look at the two causes of temptation. 

Most temptations are caused by our fallen human nature.  As we saw last Sunday, Original Sin has wounded our human nature.  We simply do not have complete control over our mind, memory, imagination, will, passions and emotions.  We will always struggle with something.

Sometimes we might be tempted to be lazy and sleep in, rather than go to work or to school.  Sometimes we might be tempted to gossip.  Sometimes we might be tempted to be impatient.  Sometimes we might be tempted to be unchaste.  Sometimes we might even be tempted to take something that does not belong to us.

“Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between spirit and flesh develops. But in fact, this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2516).

Satan Can Also Cause Temptation

Satan can also cause temptation.  Satan’s greatest triumph is that he has caused many people to no longer believe that he really exists.  Jesus tells us who he is when he said: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10: 18).  My dear friends, Satan is real and his actions in the world are very real.

The Second Vatican Council made this point very clear when it said, “The whole of man’s history has been the story of our combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day.  Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 37.2).

As the holy season of Lent begins, this Sunday’s liturgy reminds us that we are engaged in a daily and dramatic battle between Christ and Satan, between good and evil.  What is at stake in this battle is our eternal salvation.  Satan will do all that he can do separate us from Christ.  

Many people become discouraged and nervous when they are tempted.  Many people can be scrupulous.  They think that they are sinning when in fact they have only been tempted.  Sin is only a sin when there is full consent.  Temptation is not a sin; therefore, there is no need to mention temptation within the Sacrament of Confession.  Actually, when we say no to the temptation and affirm our fidelity to the Lord, we need to realize that we have been victorious.  

The continual interior struggle to be faithful to God does have great personal benefits.  The struggle is a workout, and every work out makes us stronger and allows us to go deeper.

Although it is true that we will always be tempted, we must also do all that we can to avoid temptation.

Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of the hardest animals to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. For the men of the Zulu tribe it is quite simple.

The method the Zulus use comes from their knowledge of the animal. Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine. The seeds of this melon are a favorite of the monkey. Knowing this, the Zulus simply cut a hole in the melon, just large enough for the monkey to insert his hand. The monkey will stick his hand in, grab as many seeds as he can, then start to withdraw it. He cannot do this because his fist is now larger than the hole. The monkey will pull and tug, screech and fight the melon for hours. He cannot get free of the trap unless he gives up the seeds, which he refuses to do. Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and seize him.

In 1972, during one of his General Audiences in Rome, Pope Paul VI spoke of Satan and the nature of temptation with these dramatic words: “So we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning; he is the hidden enemy who sows errors and misfortunes in human history. It is worth recalling the revealing Gospel parable of the good seed and the cockle, for it synthesizes and explains the lack of logic that seems to preside over our contradictory experiences: ‘An enemy has done this.’ He is ‘a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies,’ as Christ defines him.  He undermines man’s moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities. He can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations.”

Make Use Of the Sacraments And Our Lady To Strengthen You In Battle

Prayer, daily Mass, filial devotion to our Lady, the reading of the Sacred Scriptures, adoration and the frequent reception of Confession are the proven remedies for temptation. 

At the same time, it is essential that we avoid the occasions of sin that put us in the danger of not only being tempted, but also may cause us to sin.  Young people who are preparing themselves for marriage need to be prudent about their relationship and establish firm boundaries that will help them to be chaste.  Parents need to be vigilant about the use of the television, cell phones, music, video games and the Internet in their homes.

The triple concupiscence of the world, the flesh and the devil are just as real today as they have been over the entire history of humanity.

Lent provides us with a special time of grace to examine our conscience and remove those things that are holding us back from a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ or may in fact be an obstacle to our eternal salvation.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks about Satan with these words: “He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all: when he lies he is drawing from his own store, because he is a liar, and the father of lies” (John 8: 44).

He has everyone believing a big lie.

He has everyone believing that abortion is reproductive health, that fornication is cohabitation, and that sodomy is gay.

The father of lies has everyone believing that there is no such thing as sin.

And the best lie of all, he has everyone believing that he does not even exist.

Pray The Rosary

I have told you before that Our Lady of Guadalupe is not really Our Lady of Guadalupe, instead she is really Our Lady of coatlaxopeuh which is pronounced “quatlasupe” and sounds extraordinarily like the Spanish word Guadalupe.  Coatlaxopeuh means She who crushes the head of the serpent.

“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Genesis 3: 15, Douay – Rheims).

In our present day apocalyptic battle with the evil one, let us turn to Mary.  Let us pray the Rosary every day so that in our lives, in our homes and in our nation, she will crush the head of the serpent and give us the strength to live fully Christian lives with Our Savior Jesus Christi.    

Originally posted at:  fatherjames.org

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4 comments to Temptation: Satan Will Do All He Can To Separate Us From The Love Of Christ

  • Chris

    Father,

    How do you know when a person is full of evil ? How do you protect those around you from this evil esp. in your family. Example: 1) I have a family member who is an atheist and is extremely materialistic, what do you do with someone who has that influence among the younger members of the family ? 2) There is another member of my family that is extremely narcissistic trying to take control of an elderly person in my family ? How do I deal with such evil ? These are 2 very important questions. Please Father answer both.

    Chris

  • Hi Chris, I am no expert, I simply want to share with you what I’ve learned when I too considered this question. First off, you’re right in that the analogy that was given to you doesn’t make sense. No need to even discuss it.

    If someone says “God can’t prevent some folks from going to hell,” they have either not clearly explained themselves or we misunderstood their response. They’re partially correct that God can’t prevent some from going to hell. What’s missing is this:

    We are a result of God’s love and the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In terms that help me understand better, it’s like a child is the result of the love between a husband and wife. It is a life-giving love that creates. In God’s case, we are that which He created.

    God loves us, and He wants us to love him back, freely. He didn’t make robots so that we would automatically love Him. He wants us to CHOOSE to love him.

    And that is why God can’t force you to go to Heaven. Think of Heaven as “Being perfectly in the presence of God.” If you choose not to love God, or you don’t want to be in His presence, then you are in Hell, “a place where there is a complete absence of God.”

    In the same way, God doesn’t send you to Hell. You/we/us/they choose Hell over God. When you read the Scriptures, it’s clear that God doesn’t want us to go to Hell.

    So God can prevent us from going to Hell. His name is Jesus, crucified and killed for our sins, to prevent us from going to Hell. God can’t prevent us from going to Hell, because it would go against his very nature. To prevent us from going to Hell would mean that He takes over our will. But He has certainly done everything in His power so that we choose Heaven over Hell, life over death. That is why the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are so central to our faith. But he didn’t even stop there. Every day, we get little reminders and love notes from God (through others, through nature, through our conscience, through Scripture, etc) saying, “Choose me, choose life”

    Chris, I hope this answers your question. Again, I am no theologian, but as an average person, that is how I understand God and why there’s a Hell and why he allows people to go there. I am offering up today’s prayers for you that God may spark in you a flame so strong that Satan won’t be able to extinguish it. God bless you brother.

  • Chris

    There has always been an issue that I have struggled with over the years. I believe in a Supreme Being, God who is all knowing and the ultimate creator of all things. Yet, He creates creatures that He knows are going to hell. Over the years, religion teachers have used the analogy, at least where I went to school, that it was bit like standing on the roof of a very tall building and watching two cars below crash being unable to prevent the crash. The analogy never made sense because the person on the roof didn’t create the cars. Other “experts” have said that God can’t prevent some folks from going to hell, if this is true, Satan is more powerful than God and therefore God would not be omnipotent. Help

  • tg

    I like this priest. We need more priests to speak the Truth boldly and not “Bravo” to coming out of the closet.