Tactics Leading to Conflicts
08 October 2021, Friday of the 27th Week in the Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus tells us about a war that has been going on. This conflict is between Him and Satan. But where is this taking place? Conflicts that are happening outside of us are reflective of the things that are happening deep within us. Thus, the war between God and Satan is not just something external but it is taking place within each one of us. Just consider the moment when we are tempted.
Evil does not appear to us as something ugly, smelly and not tasty. In order to fall into temptation, the Evil One, in subtle ways, does the following tactics:
One, the devil appears like “an angel of light”. In doing so, Satan deceives us by presenting sin as apparently good. But when we fall into his trap, the devil accuses us.
Two, the devil appears like a “beautiful woman” for a man, or a “handsome looking man” for a woman. This beautiful woman/handsome man is so demanding. Later, he/she becomes ferocious just for us to give in. If the one being tempted shows weakness, one ends up being trapped.
Three, the devil acts like a “false lover” who makes advances to a married woman and tries to convince her to keep his words and actions secret. There is one thing that the devil really likes: secrets. When sins are kept, they increase exponentially. If exposed to the light by confessing them, God’s mercy and love shines.
Four, the devil also acts as a “general”, looking for the weakest spot to attack. He examines our virtues and attacks the weakest one(s).
After knowing such Satanic strategies which can lead us to division, diversion and desolation, what must we do?
First, pray for the gift of discernment, not just to know the right from what is wrong, but to keep us in touch with the movements of our hearts. It is in our hearts where God speaks.
Second, be regular for Confession. Many of us are shy to confess our sins. That is Satan’s tactic no. 3. But confession is not just going to a laundry shop to have your dirty clothes washed. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, together with the Eucharist, is an encounter with the loving and merciful Lord. We enter the sacrament filled with misery. We will come out thankful of God’s mercy.
Third, have a good spiritual director. Spiritual Direction is the Church’s greatest treasure that has been rediscovered nowadays. We need someone to accompany us so that we can walk on the path according to God’s will. Yes, we can decide on our own. But the Spirit’s bidding can be discerned and discovered when done in the context of friendship and prayer.
Fourth, repeat, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Christian life is not all about conquering many temptations but more of walking in humility with the Lord. The Lord knows us through and through: weak and vulnerable, flawed and miserable. But the more we realize how powerless we are, the more graces that we need so that we can be faithful and loving for as St Paul says, “Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.” (Rom 5:20)
If the battle of these two kingdoms is deep within us, just remember: Jesus has saved us. He has already won the battle on the cross and on the day of His resurrection. Can we allow the devil to take us away from Jesus? Amen.
Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us here.