At the heart of all diversion is that the devil wants us to focus on lesser things to avoid focusing on greater things, such as a moral decisions, and the overall direction of our life.
Once again, we must learn to focus on what matters most, and decisively refuse to be diverted to lesser things.
As human beings, and certainly as Christians, we ought to have high aspirations. This is good. But as in all good things, Satan often seeks to poison that which is good. For having high aspirations, it is also true that we sometimes lack the humility that recognizes that we must make a journey to that which is good, and best. Too easily then, Satan temps us to impatience with our self or others. And, in our aspirations, expected in unreasonably quick time, there comes a lack of charity toward our self or others. Some grow discouraged with themselves or others and give up on the pursuit of holiness. Others give up on the church because of the imperfections found there.
The devil also discourages us, because aspirations are generally open-ended. The fact is, there is always room for improvement, and we can always do more. But here the devil enters, for, when we can always do more, it is also possible to think we’ve never done enough. And thus the devil discourages us, sowing thoughts of unreasonable demands within us as to what we can or should do they day by day.
The devil also discourages us through simple things like fatigue, the personal failings that we all experience, setbacks, and other obstacles that are common to our human condition, and common to living in a fallen world with limited resources.
In all these ways to devil seeks to discourage us, to make us want, at some level, to give up. Only a properly developed sense of humility can help to save us from these discouraging works of Satan. For the fact is, humility, which is reverence for the truth about ourselves, teaches us that we grow and develop slowly and in stages, and that we do in fact have setbacks, and live in a world that is hard, and far from perfect. Recognizing these things, and being humble, helps us to lean more on the Lord, and trust in his providential help, which grows in us incrementally.
Here then are four common tactics of the devil. Learn to recognize and name them. In this way we start to gain authority over them. Consider buying the book by Fr. Louis Cameli to learn more.
Msgr. Charles Popeis the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, DC. He attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary and holds Masters degrees in Divinity and in Moral Theology. He was ordained in 1989 and named a Monsignor in 2005. He has conducted a weekly Bible Study in Congress and in the White House, for two and four years, respectively.
Reprinted with the permission of Msgr. Pope. Originally published on his blog on the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.