Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jen vs. the Devil, Round 1

During my confession with Pastor last night, I told him about the powerful prayer session I had in the Adoration chapel the other day, and how frustrated I was with myself. I left the chapel, so completely filled with Goodness. I truly felt that God had filled all of my nooks and crannies with His Goodness, and I wanted to hold onto that feeling, to stay in that place of Goodness as long as I could.

Well, "as long as I could" lasted just about half an hour, and then I was snapping at the children, making snippy comments to DH, filled with impatience, annoyance and any other myriad of things not falling under the heading of Goodness. Within just a few hours, I could feel that entire experience slipping away from me.

I was really frustrated with myself. I had been given this amazing gift of union with the Divine, and it wasn't enough. Why couldn't that be enough for me to choose God over myself? I know how good God is... why isn't it enough?

Pastor jumped in immediately and said, "I'll tell you why. I know exactly why that happened. Do you realize that when you left the chapel, filled with God, that the devil saw that and didn't like it? So, he tempted you. He knows you as well as God does, and he knows your triggers. And he went right for them. Anytime he sees God making headway, he goes right at it. So, next time you leave the chapel, do so with the knowledge that the evil one is looking for ways to trip you up, and enlist God in helping you do your best to thwart him."

Now, to be honest, I was a bit sceptical. I've never been really comfortable with the whole concept of a devil following me around, tempting me. It's always seemed too easy. "The devil made me do it," so I'm not responsible for my actions. But I discussed it with DH last night, and prayed a bit about it before bed. And again this morning, I prayed some more, for some understanding of this whole issue. I believe in angels; I often pray to my children's Guardian Angels. Why wouldn't there be evil spirits out there, trying to lead us away from all that is Good and Holy? It really does make sense. I know that evil exists. If there is a Holy Spirit, why not an evil spirit, too?

So, I was content to just pray about it, to meditate on it, and live with the concept for a while. I decided to see where the concept of a devil leads me.

Tonight, I was working on my witness for the upcoming CRHP weekend. I have to share it with my formation team next week, and this is the shortest amount of time I've ever had to write and edit a witness. I was focused and working hard. I reached a point where I needed a little break, and decided to read a bit online. I came across this post on Catholicmom. Kate Wicker summed up exactly where my thoughts were leading me. There is some evil spirit or force in the world, and it wants very much to lead me away from God. It's the force that lures me away from the treadmill, that keeps me playing around online when I should be fixing dinner, that convinces me that I have it so tough (even while my life is, quite objectively, filled with blessings).

To be honest, it's almost a relief. Yesterday afternoon, as I was preparing for my confession, I was frustrated at my lack of willpower. Why am I not strong enough to choose God? But now, instead of seeing the devil as a one-size-fits-all excuse for my less-than-loving choices, I now have an enemy I can see. I'm not fighting against my own lack of willpower. I am fighting the evil one.

Well, watch out, devil. You are on notice. I know you're there and I know your game plan. And I love a good fight.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this beautiful reflection, Jen. I love how you admit it's almost a relief to have some idea of what you're up against.

    Let's keep up the good fight.

    God bless!