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Thoughts for the Week
 
 

 

Third Sunday of Lent

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
19th March 2017

The Devil and His Activity in the Soul

by St. Teresa of Avila

Signs of the diabolical influence in the spiritual life:

(a) False humility:  When a person is in this condition (of false humility) the understanding is dulled; and so I was tormented by a thousand doubts and suspicions. I thought that I had not understood properly, and that it might have been my imagination, and that it was bad enough for me to be myself deluded, without also deluding good people. I felt that I was so evil that all the evils and heresies that had ever arisen were due to my sins. This is a false humility, and it was invented by the Devil so that he might unsettle me and see if he could throw my soul into a state of despair.

(b) Confusion and obscurity:  The Devil seems to stifle the soul and enslave the body so that both seem to be powerless. In that other humility which is the work of the Devil the soul has not light enough to do anything good and thinks of God as one Who is always wielding fire and sword. It pictures God's justice and, although it has faith in His mercy, for the Devil has no power to take away that faith, still this does not bring any consolation, because when my soul thinks of God's mercy this only increases its torments, because I realise that it involves me in greater obligations.

Remedies:  I feel quite certain that the Devil will not deceive, and that God will not permit him to deceive, a soul which has no trust whatever in itself, and is strengthened in faith and knows full well that for every act of faith it would suffer a thousand deaths. With the Lord we need not fear the devils for, although I used sometimes to see the devils, I have hardly ever been afraid of them again - indeed, they seem to be afraid of me. I have acquired an authority over them given me by the Lord of all things, so that they are no more trouble to me now than flies. They seem to me to be such cowards - as soon as they see that one despises them they flee, powerless. They are arch enemies who can only make a direct assault on those whom they see giving in to them or on servants of God whom, for their greater good, God allows to be tried and molested in this way. May His majesty make us fear Him Whom we should fear, understanding that one venial sin can do more harm than all the forces of Hell combined. If only we will hate everything for God's sake and embrace the Cross, trying to serve Him in truth, the Devil will fly from those truths as from a plague. He is a lover of lies and a liar himself. He will have nothing to do with anyone who walks in truth. Not a fig shall I care for all the devils in Hell; it is they who shall fear me.

The Life St. Teresa of Avila by Herself, Ch. 31.