I’m not a fan of writing about Satan and the power he can have in our lives and culture. Whenever we focus too much on evil, it has a way of invading our thinking, sometimes to the point of getting depressed and anxious. Yet, exposing the lies of Satan is important if we are to practice a holy life.
The first, and perhaps the most devasting lie is that Satan does not exist. It is awfully easy for those of us who have studied anthropology and comparative religions to believe that Satan is nothing more than a mythological creature and that he was created by ancient civilizations to account for evil in the world. Others will say that Satan is no more than a projection of our own inner being and tendency to that which is evil. Others will say that the Bible was written and compiled in antiquity and was manufactured by superstitious and ignorant people who did not have the benefit of modern sciences of sociology and psychology.
How do we reconcile this kind of thinking with the teaching of the Church and the Bible?
We don’t! If we believe Jesus to be the Son of God, that he died and rose again for our salvation, then we ought to accept his world view and not pick and choose the parts of the Bible we want to believe and just the Church teaching we want to believe. It is abundantly clear that Jesus did battle with Satan and evil spirits. One cannot read much of the Gospels, without noticing Jesus was aware of Satan. If we are willing to conform our lives, thinking and world view to that of Jesus, then we must accept the existence of Satan and evil spirits.
Consider our thoughts. It is common to think that when we are motivated to do good things that we are “inspired” by the Holy Spirit. We conclude that the thought came for God.
We also believe that some, perhaps even most, of our thoughts are manufactured by our brains. That is the common view today. Could it not be also possible that some of our thoughts come from the evil one? If you are thinking that you are unworthy of God’s love, predestined for hell, unable to be forgiven, unacceptable to God, unlovable, or beyond redemption, or that there is no resurrection, or that the Eucharist is not Jesus, then I would suggest these are lies from Satan. If you think that breaking the Ten Commandments is ok, or that morality is relative, or that all faiths are just as valid as any other, than you may be thinking thoughts from Satan.
There is evil in the world. Just look around you. When Jesus said that we should look at the fruit of the tree to judge its goodness, I believe he wasn’t just talking about people. He was referencing our thoughts. What is the result of Satanic thinking? Evil behavior. What is the result of inspired thinking? Good behavior. It would be good for each of us to examine our world view and note whether it leads us to holiness or destruction.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you, be gracious to you and give you his peace.”