The Good News

Welcome to The Good News Blogspot! The Good News is real and alive in my own life. Jesus has fulfilled in my life His promise of fuller and more abundant life (John 15), a quality of life I could not have created for myself. I invite you to share experiences with me so we can all grow into the life He offers us all.

My Photo

Catholic by call, Jesuit by nature, a preacher/spiritual conversation partner by choice. Learning about getting older, learning to live in the present moment, one day at a time. Learning to let go and laugh.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

"The Devil Made Me Do It!"

“Oh, really! Did he have a tail and horns, a black body suit and a pitchfork?!”

No, evil doesn’t look like that, and evil doesn’t make us do things. But evil exists, and we must learn to identify it accurately. Identifying evil, which St Paul calls testing the spirits and which St Ignatius calls discernment of spirits, requires practice, experience and sometimes the formal gift of discernment from God (see I Corinthians 12).

St. Ignatius of Loyola often refers to evil as the “enemy of our human nature.” Our human nature is oriented to God and to a desire for the fuller and more abundant life that only God can give. But, our human nature has weaknesses by which we can be deceived, and we must be on our guard.

To identify evil, remember that evil’s mode of deceit is to suggest to us that the false is true and the true false. So, for example: I tend to worry about the future. “This bad thing has happened before. It’s going to happen again!” I think to myself, and the evil voice encourages me to continue thinking this way and to worrying more.

Worrying isn’t planning. Planning entails weighing costs and benefits, risks and probabilities. This is a necessary rational process. But it is not worrying, which is always unproductive. “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?” Jesus asks in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:27).

Or, I make a major decision about my life, to enter the Society of Jesus, for example, and in a short time my human nature starts to second guess my decision. The evil voice, always alert, encourages this second guessing, and soon I am worried and fearful. Or, I begin a new job or a new initiative in my current job. Then my human nature starts to worry that I have made a mistake, and the evil voice, always alert, encourages my anxieties. St Ignatius warns us against evil’s “fallacious reasoning” of just this type. For a humorous account but very accurate account of this process, read CSLewis’ The Screwtape Letters.

Or, much worse, some people who are worried or fearful turn away from God to seek relief in pornography, gambling, alcohol or drug use, and the evil voice encourages their choice.

What saves us always is God’s presence in our lives to help us unmask this evil and protect ourselves from it. Be attentive to the events of your day. Pray the Our Father with new fervor each day, “…deliver us from evil.” Pray to St Michael the Archangel to “defend us in battle…”

What saves us ultimately is that the Father has broken the power of evil through the Death and Resurrection of his son Jesus of Nazareth, now the Risen Christ who sits at his right hand. But we must cooperate with this saving power: learn to recognize evil and invite the Lord to repudiate its appearance in our lives.


Post a Comment

<< Home