Living a life centered on the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not easy. We are constantly bombarded by various “enemies” of our soul that God permits to tempt us, testing our faith in him.
What are these “enemies”?
St. John of the Cross explains:
All the evils to which the soul is subject proceed from the three enemies already mentioned: the world, the devil and the flesh. If we can hide ourselves from these we shall have no combats to fight. The world is less difficult, and the devil more difficult, to understand; but the flesh is the most obstinate of all, and the last to be overcome together with the ‘old man.’ If we do not conquer the three, we shall never perfectly conquer one; and if we conquer one, we shall also conquer the others in the same proportion.
Often these three enemies are linked to Jesus’ parable of the sower and can help us understand our need to be vigilant and combat these forces with all our might. Here is the passage to refresh our minds before delving into the symbolism.
Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. (Mark 4:3-7)
In images: Want to break a vice? Adopt an opposing virtue!
Why does God permit the devil to tempt us?