Hollywood likes to sensationalize the extraordinary activity of Satan, such as gory possessions and terrifying infestations, but he’s had much more success with his ordinary activity, namely, temptation.
For example, how did Satan trick Eve in the garden of Eden? By telling her that eating the apple wasn’t what it was – disobeying God’s command. He filled her head with the usual flim-flam about how she wouldn’t die if she ate it but would instead become like a god who knows good and evil. That sounded pretty good to Eve, so she ate it. We all know what happened next.
Now this doesn’t mean it’s all Satan’s fault, because when it comes to sin, only we are to blame. As we’re taught in the document, Christian Faith and Demonology, Regardless of how powerful it might be, temptation is only temptation. “Demons do not and cannot cause sin. Most theologians agree that they cannot directly influence our mind and will, but only our imagination, emotions, the material world around us, or in some cases, our bodies. They scare or deceive or tempt us into a choice, but this choice is ours.”
The devil can do nothing without our consent. “His force comes from our consent, and his weakness from our resistance.”
His advantage is that after being such an astute observer of human behavior since the beginning of time, he knows exactly how to frame a lie to get us to bite.
And bite we do, mostly because we moderns have convinced ourselves that we’re too intelligent to believe in Satan. This arrogance makes his job even easier because it enables him to do little more than create clever semantic word salads that the self-deluded are incapable of seeing through.
For example, abortion isn’t murder, it’s a woman's choice.
Euthanasia isn’t suicide, it’s death with dignity.
Same-sex marriage isn’t an offense against nature, it’s love.
He has proven himself to be an excellent spin doctor when it comes to matters of morality, but where he really shines is in the spiritual realm. Because of the overall decline in morality coupled with poor catechesis and the rapid growth of secularism in our culture, the devil is having an easy go of it in this area.
For instance, yoga doesn’t introduce people to a Hindu practice; it’s just exercise.
Harry Potter books don't introduce children to the workings of sorcery; they're just fiction.
The Ouija board doesn't enable people to have direct contact with demonic entities; it’s just a game.
Reiki isn’t a technique that relies on spirit guides and channeling a mysterious occult entity known as the “Reiki Source”; it’s just a massage.
Visiting a medium to contact a deceased loved one isn’t about the practice of necromancy; it’s just closure.
Transcendental Meditation isn’t about blanking the mind and entering an altered state that leaves one vulnerable to demonic influence; it’s just a relaxation exercise.
Popular mindfulness programs don’t introduce people to Buddhist meditation techniques; it’s just about living in the present moment.
I don’t know about you, but I see a pattern here – and a very primordial pattern at that.
Even though many Catholics claim yoga has brought them closer to God, and believe Buddhist meditation has enhanced their prayer life, why hasn’t all this so-called enlightenment brought them closer to the Truth? Instead, weekly Mass attendance has dropped to just 39% of self-professed Catholics since these practices became mainstream.
Remember what Jesus taught, that we'll know a tree by its fruit. In this case, the tree is not producing bad fruit, it's producing no fruit at all – precisely the kind of tree that Jesus says “will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:19).
May it be so!
In the meantime, let's pray for ourselves as well as for our brothers and sisters who are falling for Satan's spin that we might see through these lies and find our way to the only enlightenment that will ever matter - eternal life in Christ.
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