While we are in the midst of Lent, struggling with the “little” thing we might have given up for Lent, temptation is a much larger struggle that we all face daily. Tempted to cheat, tempted to steal, tempted to sneak, tempted to stray away from God. It may seem hopeless, but we are blessed with ways out of temptation. Jesus tells us God will always provide a way out of temptation, but we must choose to take it. Father Livio Fanzaga guides us in The Deceiver: Our Daily Struggle with Satan on ways to find the way past temptation and avoid what leads us to sin.
The devil works best in the shadows or where he is denied. How the story may have been different if after Jesus tells the disciples about his suffering and Peter tells Jesus, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you” and Jesus responds, “No its fine”? This is not what happened! Instead Jesus calls out Satan, “Get behind me, Satan!” acknowledging the temptation of not going through His Passion. Say it! It works for us too.
Don’t let pride bring you down
Pride is commonly sited as what caused the devil to fall from Heaven. He will even use the pride we have to draw us away from God. While it is good to be proud of the good works we do, we must always give that glory back to God and acknowledge our dependance on Him and not self.
Greatest seller of false merchandise
“He studies your hunger and then presents to you the most alluring food. Do you want to have riches? He will show you easy money. Do you want power? He will show you the kingdoms of the world…Do you want success? He will indicate to you a secure shortcut. He knows the hunger for happiness that torments man, and he is most clever in making himself seem like the only one who can satisfy it.” Don’t buy what he’s selling.
We were told since the fall that Satan would be defeated. Christ is the new Adam who set things right again, and scripture tells us even the demons recognized him (Luke 4:34, Mark 3:22-30, Matt 4:9 and 25:41). They battled in the desert, and he thought he defeated Christ on the Cross. But little did he know, that just unleashed the full power and glory of God. Satan is defeated and as long as we put on the “armor of God” (Eph 6:11), we can also win with Christ beside us.
Hide under Mary’s mantle
Just as mothers will protect their children from harm, Mary, Our Mother, will always protect her children from harm. At the foot of the Cross, Jesus gave his mother to all of us. Mary knows how to protect us from Satan and will guide us to turn away from danger. If you are ever tempted, ask Mary to hide you under her mantle.
Ways to overcome
Many times when we are in the midst of the weeds of temptation, we forget the simple things that pull us out: Prayer, let go of material things, trust God when feeling worried or anxious, take a deep breath and keep calm when feeling irritable. These are just a few ways refocus on God, look to the Cross as Mary did and find our way out of temptation.
There is so much more to unpack about how the devil is constantly trying to deceive us and cause us to follow him and not God. In The Deceiver: Our Daily Struggle with Satan, Fr. Livio Fanzaga, explains clearly the ways Satan works and gives us real ways to not fall into sin. Say an Our Father, tell Satan to get behind you and move forward in victory with Christ.