“Not today, Satan!”
“Get behind me, Satan!”
These have become popular phrases proclaimed by many Christians. But when we are run down, going through personal storms, repeatedly hearing fear and hatred from the culture, and allow comparison, negativity, and control to dominate our thoughts, we aren’t opening the door to God. We are opening a window to another visitor.
When I read today’s readings, I’m reminded of two things: 1) we are made in the image and likeness of God and 2) Christ is the Messiah. These two truths profoundly opened the eyes of Noah and the Apostles. For Noah, a covenant was created between God and man. (See Genesis 9:9.) For the Apostles, they were beginning to understand the sacrifice Christ would endure and how quickly human fears and thoughts can control actions. (See Mark 8:33.) We are much the same, trusting in our own strength instead of that of God.
We understand the covenant God made with us and the sacrifice Christ endured for our salvation. Yet still we allow Satan to twist the truth of love God established from the beginning.
Do you want to know how to dismiss the voice of the evil one? Ask yourself these three questions:
1) Does the voice summon fear or anxiety?
It’s not God! God’s voice will bring peace. Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, whom Saint Francis de Sales admired, wrote: “The enemy detests this peace. For he knows that this is the place where the spirit of God dwells, and that God now desires to accomplish great things in us” (Spiritual Combat, XXV).
2) Does the voice pull you from God’s Commandments?
Guess again, as that would not be God’s voice! Do an examination of conscience to recognize the ways Satan is tempting you away from your relationship with the Lord.
3) Does the voice invoke comparison, covetousness, or sin?
The accuser is on the megaphone this time, sister. Run to Confession! The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, wants to remind you that from the beginning you were made in the image and likeness of God.
The next time you hear Satan whispering, remember to throw yourself into God’s loving arms, for as Dom. Lorenzo Scupoli said, “There is nothing of greater efficacy in obtaining the assistance of heaven than placing complete confidence in God” (Spiritual Combat, III).
Not today Satan . . . not today!
Did you catch our Examination of Conscience on the blog? It's an easy download, too.
Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a boundless passion for life. After two decades of ministering to teens and youth ministers as a trainer, ministry mentor, and speaker in Catholic youth ministry, Tricia now serves as Campus Minister at USC Caruso Catholic Center. She loves adventure and seeks it everywhere she goes. As an avid foodie, she enjoys testing new recipes out on friends and family, gathering them around the table to encounter Christ in one another and be drawn to the satisfying unity we crave in the Eucharist. You can find out more about her here.