Dear Friends in Christ,
There’s a lot of division in our world, in our nation, and in our Church today. Where does it come from? I think the answer is simple. It comes from the enemy of our human nature; the prince of lies, the deceiver: Satan. If you don’t believe we are in the midst of a spiritual battle these days, then the enemy has already won you over to a great extent through ignorance or indifference. St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his rules for discernment of spirits, makes it clear that we need to be on the lookout for the deceptive traps the enemy puts in front of us to draw us away from God; from intimacy with Jesus Christ. We need to be able to discern what is of God and what is not of God. If you are challenged in some aspect of your faith in God, with the Church, your family, and people around you, the source of that “discord” is the evil one who seeks to cause confusion and despair.
To get to the details of the wiles of the enemy, I highly recommend C.S. Lewis’
. But to give you a good summary of what’s happening right now, here’s a reflection by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, a Pauline Sister. She has a huge social media footprint and this week she posted the following reflection that I hope you will find useful. She knows her stuff. She’s a religious sister who is a convert to the Catholic faith from atheism. She’s lived in the darkness of no faith or hope, but she found joy in life with Christ. She knows the battle with the enemy because she has lived through it! Enjoy.
“If Satan can’t get us to leave the Church, he doesn’t stop there. He has other tactics up his sleeve to divide us from Jesus Christ. We must be vigilant against his wiles as they can wreak havoc in our lives and those of others.
: Satan loves to get people to put their faith on the bottom rung of the ladder of life’s priorities so he can distract them with other worldly concerns: money, fame, success, power, sex, etc.
: If Satan can’t get us through pride to leave the Church, he’ll try to get us to divide ourselves from the Body of Christ through prideful divisiveness and dismissiveness of those we refuse to love in the charity of truth.
Exaggerated or Anti-Intellectualism
: Satan loves when we reduce the faith to ideas so we can lord our knowledge over others. Or the reverse, when we refuse to purify our faith of irrationality, believing merely what confirms our own opinions, fears, & sinful inclinations.
Disdain for Legitimate Authority
: Satan loves to set people against the Church’s unifying hierarchy and her magisterial teaching. He strives to convince us that our conscience need not be formed by authority and that we possess special knowledge that others don’t.
Division through Objectification
: Satan is the prince of division and he loves to sow it in our hearts by getting us to obsess over the failures & sins of others, people made in the image and likeness of God who become mere objects for us to lob in ideological fights.
In all these tactics, and the method is really immaterial, Satan’s goal is to separate us from Jesus—from his people, from his Church, from his fervor, from his humility, and from his Heart. Satan hates nothing more than for us to have a real, intimate, transformative, prayer/sacrament-based relationship with Jesus Christ because that powerfully informs and transforms lives, especially our attitudes toward others & our relationship with the Body of Christ.”
Friends, let us take these words to heart this week. May we keep our gaze upon the Lord Jesus and seek his peace in our hearts. For this is the only solution to that which divides us on so many fronts in our troubled world.
May the peace of Christ reign in your heart,
Fr. David Mulholland