"What is temptation? Temptation is the work of Satan to drag you to Hell. And Satan can read you like a book and play you like piano. Do not exaggerate his power, but do not underestimate it either.
Some of his subtlest work is done in the area of religious observance. There, he can cloak himself quite easily in the lamb’s clothing of piety, but, wolf that he really is, distort it, either through excess or defect, thereby destroying you with what is good. Beware what some spiritual writers call the “traps of the pious.” Consider some examples:
He can discourage you with prayer by saying, “If only you would pray a little longer, God will give you what you seek.” But the deception is that if we can pray a little longer, then we can never have prayed enough. Thus though we pray, we only feel guilty and inadequate. And since we can never have prayed “enough,” prayer increasingly turns into a burdensome task; God becomes a cruel taskmaster demanding longer and more precise prayers. Or prayer becomes a superstitious endeavor whose outcome we somehow control by the length and type of our prayers. Jesus counsels us that the Father knows what we need and that we should not think that merely multiple words and pious actions are necessary. We may need to persevere in prayer over time, but God is not a cruel tyrant demanding endless incantations.
Satan can take the beautiful practice of praying the rosary, or attending daily Mass, or other devotions and slowly incite in us a feeling of smug superiority, elitism, or pride. Gradually, others are thought to be less devout, even in error, because they do not do or observe what is optional or encouraged but not required. What is beautiful and holy is thus employed to incite ever-growing pride and cynicism. A most extreme form of this comes from those who take the beautiful and powerful devotion to our Lady of Fatima and allow Satan to set them against even the Pope and all the world’s bishops by claiming that they failed, either ineptly or willfully, to properly consecrate Russia. And thus one of our most beautiful and informative apparitions can engender in some people distrust of the Church and disunity from her, from multiple popes, and even from Sister Lucia herself. It is an astonishingly crafty work of the evil one to take what is good and religious and corrupt it in the minds of some.
Satan can also take what IS required and turn it into a kind of religious minimalism, a way of keeping God at a distance. And thus he tempts some souls with the notion that Sunday Mass, a little something in the collection plate, and a few rushed prayers are the end of religion rather than the beginning of it. Such observances become a way of “checking off the God-box” and being done with God for the week, rather than a foundation on which to build a beautiful and ever-deepening relationship of love with God. Such minimal practices become a form of “God-control” for those tempted in this way; it is as if to say, “I’ve done what I am supposed to do, now God and the Church have to leave me alone. God also needs to take care me now since I’ve done what I’m required to do.” And thus the Church’s beautiful laws and the requirements describing the basic duties or foundation for a deepening relationship with God, become a kind of “separation agreement,” insisting on very strict visiting hours and specifying who gets what.
Satan can take religious zeal and corrupt it into harsh and uncharitable zealotry. He can take a love for the beauty of the Liturgy, ancient or new, and turn it into a persnickety insistence on exactly the right ingredients, at the expense of charity and at the cost of ridicule, false superiority, and disunity. And thus, charity thrust aside, we say, “Just make sure you celebrate the liturgy the way I like it. Anyone who doesn’t like what I like is antiquarian, a knave, or an uncouth troglodyte and must obviously hate the Church that I love so beautifully …”
As the Church is in the news and Cardinals and bishops clash, (if reports are to be believed) here’s a bit from the thought of Pope Paul Vl reflecting on Vatican II
Here’s the paragraph in which the quotation occurs, as well as the following one:
Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father
affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan
has entered the temple of God.” There is doubt, incertitude,
problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation. There is no
longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who
speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him
and ask him if he has the formula of true life. And we are not alert
to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula
of true life. Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by
windows that should have been open to the light. Science exists to
give us truths that do not separate from God, but make us seek him all
the more and celebrate him with greater intensity; instead, science
gives us criticism and doubt. Scientists are those who more
thoughtfully and more painfully exert their minds. But they end up
teaching us: “I don’t know, we don’t know, we cannot know.” The
school becomes the gymnasium of confusion and sometimes of absurd
contradictions. Progress is celebrated, only so that it can then be
demolished with revolutions that are more radical and more strange, so
as to negate everything that has been achieved, and to come away as
primitives after having so exalted the advances of the modern world.
This state of uncertainty even holds sway in the Church. There was
the belief that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for
the history of the Church. Instead, it is the arrival of a day of
clouds, of tempest, of darkness, of research, of uncertainty. We
preach ecumenism but we constantly separate ourselves from others. We
seek to dig abysses instead of filling them in.
In the next section the subject of the devil is further expounded upon:
How has this come about? The Pope entrusts one of his thoughts to
those who are present: that there has been an intervention of an
adverse power. Its name is the devil, this mysterious being that the
Letter of St. Peter also alludes to. So many times, furthermore, in
the Gospel, on the lips of Christ himself, the mention of this enemy of
men returns. The Holy Father observes, “We believe in something that
is preternatural that has come into the world precisely to disturb, to
suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council, and to impede the
Church from breaking into the hymn of joy at having renewed in fullness
its awareness of itself. Precisely for this reason, we should wish to
be able, in this moment more than ever, to exercise the function God
assigned to Peter, to strengthen the Faith of the brothers. We should
wish to communicate to you this charism of certitude that the Lord
gives to him who represents him though unworthily on this earth.”
Faith gives us certitude, security, when it is based upon the Word of
God accepted and consented to with our very own reason and with our
very own human spirit. Whoever believes with simplicity, with
humility, sense that he is on the good road, that he has an interior
testimony that strengthens him in the difficult conquest of the truth.
Read Jimmy Akins analysis here: via The Smoke Of Satan Homily.
Drawing a crowd at least four or five times its normal size, a throng estimated at well over 100,000 people swarmed St Peter’s Square today for the Pope’s noontime Angelus – the next-to-last Sunday greeting from B16 before his resignation takes effect in 11 days.
Unlike the Wednesday Audience, no tickets are required for the pontiff’s weekly appearance at his study window. It was reported yesterday that the lone remaining mid-week gathering – on the 27th – has already seen 35,000 requests for tickets, and will be moved into the Square from its usual winter venue inside the 7,000-seat Paul VI Hall.
(On-demand video of the gathering is available through the Holy See’s streaming HD player.)
Quoting his favorite saint – Augustine, the subject of his doctoral dissertation in theology as a young priest, and a figure on whom he’s sought to model himself – Benedict reminded the crowd that “Jesus took our temptations on himself to give us his victory over them.”read more………..
Thus, in the commercial the man considers all Satan’s trinkets against the glories of mercy and he chooses mercy. He know the cost, but considers it acceptable if he can but have mercy for himself, without the Devil as a partner. How about you?
A final detail worth noting in the commercial: At the bottom of the proposed contract held out by Satan is a backward Chi Rho (The Greek abbreviation for “Christ”) and the Latin Inscription Sigilla posuere magister diabolus et daemones (Master seal of the Devil and demons. The backward initials recalls an image of the anti-Christ. And the Latin is more literally means “A seal to set the Devil and demons (as) Master.”
In the end that is the choice. You will have the master your choose. And of this the Lord reminds we must choose one and only one:
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matt 6:24)
Whose coins are in your pocket and whose seal is on them? The choice is yours. You are free to choose, but you are not free NOT to choose. You can have it all now, or store it up bravely for later:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt 6:19-21)
Why not be Benz (brave) and choose Mercedes (mercy)?
In the end the Scripture is fulfilled for the man which says, Resist the Devil and he will flee (James 4:2)
“Souls fall into Hell like snowflakes fall from the sky.” (Our Lady to the children at Fatima)
Get to know about the Enemy!