Humility, Obedience, Patience: October 2002 Archives

How Can Satan Deceive?


T.S. O'Rama never fails to post fascinating and thought provoking things. My mind bubbles with all sorts of thoughts all the time and occasionally one struggles to the high-surface tension top of the liquid and explodes with amazing display, usually over some triviality. Not to break that sequence, I must comment on this comment Mr. O'Rama offers.

Perhaps the answer is this: everything but humility. If the Medjugorje messages said, "humble yourselves before your family & neighbor" instead of the unceasing requests to pray, perhaps that would be off-limits as a demonic strategy.

I think I would say, put no good thing beyond Satan's power. That is, if praying the Rosary will keep you at the same level of prayer and cause you not to advance, that is a victory for him. He would encourage you to be very devout in your prayer of the Rosary. If humility seems good, he can make it a marketable commodity, and suddenly people who were full of humility are measuring themselves against others and against a false standard. Satan can use all morally good and neutral things to ill effect. We can be tempted to spend hours round-the-clock before the Blessed Sacrament, indeed a good thing, to keep us from supporting our families and doing our duties in our married vocations. So Jesus told us not to judge by appearances or by what was said ("wolves in sheep’s clothing.") but "by their fruits you shall know them."

Now this becomes an extremely tricky business. Take the matter of the forthcoming canonization of Josemaria Escriva. I have read elsewhere that he encouraged practices that would certainly seem to overstep the bounds of what modern sensibilities could entertain or accept. But do a majority of cooperators engage in these? (Did he indeed encourage any such thing or are these scurrilous rumors? I do not have enough facts at my disposal to say for certain.) What are the fruits?

That is why I simply await the full investigation of anything--apparitions, sainthood, acceptable practices and prayers. Presumably both greater numbers of people and people with a great deal more experience examine these things before they are approved. I think we fall into a trap making assumptions about what Satan can and cannot do and we do better to err on the side of accepting what is traditionally taught. These new apparitions may not make their meaning known for some time. It took a long while before we knew and understood the full revelation of Fatima. Lourdes was not well accepted immediately in its time, and we may not yet have truly absorbed all that is there for us.

Thus my caution. Satan is a lot smarter than we are, with thousands of years of tempting and experience with human souls at his fingertips, I would venture to guess that there is almost nothing that he cannot corrupt, at least in practice. Obviously he cannot make invalid a properly consecrated Eucharist, but he can lead us to believe the lies many modernists would tell of it.

The best thing to do--set your eyes on Christ and do all that you do not for hope of heaven or fear of hell, but from pure love of God. You might be led astray, but it seems unlikely that He would allow it.

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Josemaria Escriva on Humility


A reader who is very dear to my heart, asked about Escriva's writings on humility. I have this list tacked up on my wall at work.

from The Furrow Blessed (St.) Josemaria Escriva


Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:

—Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;

—Always wanting to get your own way;

—Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;

—Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;

—Despising the point of view of others;

—Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;

—Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;

—Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;

—Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;

—Making excuses when rebuked;

—Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;

—Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;

—Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;

—Refusing to carry out menial tasks;

—Seeking or wanting to be singled out;

—Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige ... ;

—Being ashamed of not having certain possessions ...

I hope this was helpful. It turns out that a better search term is "lack of humility."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Humility, Obedience, Patience category from October 2002.

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