April 2015 - The Devil and His Yo-Yo
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
During Eastertide, Holy Mother Church invites her children to contemplate the mystery of the Resurrection of Our Lord in order to draw from it the strength to over-come the Devil, the implacable enemy of mankind.
Indeed, despite the ultimate victory of Christ, the Devil still tries to thwart the work of the Redemption. To this end, preferring secrecy, he uses a tried and true meth-od. Revealing his plan would make it possible for men to avoid falling into the snares he so successfully lays.
This strategy is simple: the Devil plays yo-yo with the soul.
Initially, he emphasizes and exaggerates the past, while preventing the soul from considering it in the light of mercy. He enjoys proposing a freeze-frame for the soul—and this intent focus is always detrimental, for, turning inward on self, the soul is burned with discouragement. Then, the disturbed soul weakened, the devil needs no fight to take advantage and continue the attack, throwing the soul into the future.
This future, of course, is not presented in the light of Providence, which is one of paternal love, but under the shadow of the Devil’s particular designs. Master of all sorts of illusions, the Devil brilliant exploits the imagination, easily profiting from the many assumptions that make the future unpredictable. Incapable seeing reality as op-posed to such assumptions, man is defenseless.
Deploying the awful industry of his demonic power, the Devil refuses to stop half-way through, swinging the soul back into the past, which he has again deformed by yet more exaggeration. Now so disoriented and shaken, the soul rests and depends upon him. He continues his game, casting the soul into an endless and dazzling back-and-forth from past to future, leaving it in a trance. Unable to surface for a breath to clarify things, man is a yo-yo in the hands of the Devil.
His purpose in this back-and-forth is to make the soul pliable to his evil intents. Spinning about like a top on its axis, the soul is no longer centered on God and the Devil can inoculate it with the poison of discouragement.
It is, therefore, essential for the good health of the soul that it lives only in the present, supported by the grace of God and His eternal and paternal Love.
The Devil, however, will not surrender so easily. He reserves no means in order to coax men into his centrifuge. A new trap always awaits a soul which has determined to live only in dependence upon God—that is, in the present moment. Living in lies, the Devil keeps himself just beyond the edge of reality, never in conformity with it. He hates reality, upon which he has very little power, so he hastens to deform it. It is, thus, difficult or the soul which is subjected to such attacks to see the present moment in the light of grace—the light of Love.
Incapable of manipulating reality in the present moment, the devil must present in a human mode—to be managed only by human means and strength, which as we know, are weak and limited. In such a case the soul does not view the present under the light of Faith, Hope and Charity. The soul taking human means only is a deaf, mute and blind man, attempting to cross the Grand Canyon on a termite-eaten rope bridge, with-out any handrail. In short: it is in great peril.
Failing to obtain by its own power any results, the soul is again led to discour-agement and surrender.
Is it not the time, then, to point out a very simple truth: that man is created, not for succeeding in some undetermined chore, but to love? Man’s vocation is not to be an accountant, but a lover of God. If the soul manages to step over the snare, it will live under the guidance of the three theological virtues, in dependence upon God, in humili-ty and confidence, trusting totally in divine grace.
This life of Faith, Hope and Love is found magnificently expressed in the beau-tiful prayer for the Ember Wednesday in September, which is, itself, a program for a balanced life: We beseech Thee, O Lord, that our fragility may be upheld by the reme-dies of Thy mercy, so that what, of itself, is falling into ruin may, by Thy clemency, be restored.
Peace and joy are the atmosphere in which the soul must develop, because, as the Epistle for the same Mass of the Ember Days says: This day of our life is the holy day of the Lord: be not sad, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Let us, then, turn with confidence and abandonment to our good Mother in Heaven, so that she might teach us how to love—that is, how to live.
In Christo sacerdote et Maria,
Fr. Yves le Roux