Have you ever felt the devil’s Caress?
Have you ever been confronted with a decision whether to do something bad to achieve something supposedly good or something you think is good? Almost on a daily basis we struggle with such decisions big and small. Many times unknowingly we pay homage to the devil by blindly choosing the wrong path or making the wrong turn in our life.
Today I am not going to feature a question our readers normally send but instead I would like to share with you a letter sent by a reader that I hope would help us see and detect when the workings of the devil is upon us.
Dear Fr. Danny,
I am writing this letter not to ask you for advice (at least not this time) but to share with you the amazing experience I had with the Holy Spirit. It is part of my promise that when my wish is granted I should publish the short prayer to the Holy Spirit for protection and increase the devotion to the Holy Spirit.
I don’t want to just publish the short prayer but I also would like to relate and share with you and your readers what happened to me and my journey of realization that the devil was with me all these years without me knowing it.
I live in Spain. I moved to this country from Bulacan with my loving wife Theresa 25 years ago. We are blessed with two teenage kids. I am a Catholic but I don’t go to church often like I used to when I was still in the Philippines. Like many Pinoys I know here I more or less only remember God when I am in trouble and forget to give thanks in good times.
Six years ago I worked as an assistant procurement manager for a printing company. My boss was my biggest problem. He repeatedly humiliated me during staff meetings, took all credit for my work and blamed me irrationally for mistakes I had no control or had nothing to do with. This made me very depressed and stressed every working day. But I could not just resign, I had a family to feed. My stress and depression turned into anger. A brilliant idea came to me. I started to take home small supplies from the company. I gave them to my friends and friends of friends who were just too happy to get them for free. I did it more often and it made me happy to see my friends happy and it made me even happier to think that I was getting back at my mean boss. I told Raphael about it. He was a close friend of mine in the company and he knew and felt bad about how our boss was treating me that he cheered and encouraged me with what I was doing. He later on did the same, but unlike me Raphael sold them on a regularly basis and the quantity he took got more and bigger. I didn’t mind him. I was just happy he was also getting back at my mean boss.
I have long left that company and I now have my own business with my wife. I don’t see my old co workers anymore but we do contact each other once in a while. One day I got the shocking news from them that Raphael was summoned and was now being questioned by the police for theft. And he mentioned me as the mastermind and that I would be questioned next by the police. I was so scared and stressed. I was paralyzed. I could not believe this was happening to me. Like my old me in times of trouble, I went down on my knees and asked God for forgiveness. I was so blinded by my anger that I became worse than my boss. I didn’t know what to do. The only thing I can think of was to ask God for mercy, because there was nowhere I can go. A cousin of mine once gave me this prayer (I had it tucked and booked marked in my documents) I started to pray this prayer.
I prayed this prayer daily. I knew and felt my days were counted. I finally told my wife about everything and then next, I called my two kids and humbly told them the stupid thing I did and what could happen to me in the coming days. Theresa cried, my kids cried and my heart felt like it was being crushed as I watched them cry. I was so much in pain and was so scared but strangely I was so confident that no matter what wrong I did I know God would not leave me alone and nothing as in nothing could ever hurt me or my family because I know God is there to protect me. I could not understand it but I think I would call it simply faith.
On the third day of my prayer to the Holy Spirit I was still so scared. At 9pm Mario, a former co worker from that company, called he said that he heard that the company is not going to go after me despite Raphael mentioning my name because the company doesn’t have jurisdiction over me nor do they have the records of my employment. I learned that two years ago there was a fire in the records section that destroyed most of the employment records and much more the owner has changed too. To be sure what I heard was right I called all my former colleagues in that company the following day and they said the same thing Mario said.
Upon hearing this I realized first, that the Holy Spirit didn’t let me down and protected me as promised in this short prayer. Second, God has forgiven me and is giving me a second chance to do better. I was so happy. I was not only happy that the police would not be coming to summon me but I was happier that I felt God’s hand on me. It was a happiness I could not again explain.
Fr. Danny I hope you would find time to share my story to your readers.
Thank you very much and may the Holy Spirit always keep you safe.
Juan of Bologna/Bulacan
What struck me most about Juan’s experience is the affirmation that we are always vulnerable to the undying efforts of the devil to use us to succeed in its evil plan… in all aspects of our life. We most of the times find justification for our actions…
Your boss has been rude and has been underpaying you, giving you too much work, thus when you see the reams of copy paper you take home one ream a day. Like Juan you think this is a justification for what is being done to you.
You have a very demanding job, a husband and a child to take care of. You feel like you have the whole world on your shoulders you don’t have time for your mother, siblings or friends. But when you need their help you expect them to help you and listen to all your whinings. You believe that you need all the help so everybody should drop everything they are doing and give you their undivided attention. When they don’t you get really upset and make a detailed diary about it.
Your mother in law has been bad mouthing you to their family and family friends. So you go around doing the same thing, justifying that you need to protect yourself. You however alienate your husband and confuse your children.
Your husband has been making you feel ugly, old, useless, small and insignificant, at all possible opportunity. To make it worse you suspect his behaviour is because he’s got a lover. In your anger and frustration you curse him and say bad things about him to your children or worse you go and have an affair with your officemate.
The tragic thing about these instances in our life is that at that time we are committing this we believe it is justifiable and we have every right to do it and there is nothing wrong with what we are doing, because that is when the devil is actively working on us. We make all the rationalizations for all the wrong choices and decisions we make in our daily life.
There are three aspects about the devil that we should be aware of:
First it is very cunning. It uses very convincing and seemingly innocent tactics and strategy to hook us into his plans. Let me tell you a short anecdote. We all know birds eat worms and cats prey on birds. There was once a very lazy bird. He was too lazy even to catch the worms for his meals. A very shrewd cat who has been salivating to have the bird for dinner thought of an idea. It collected worms and put them in a can and labelled it ‘For Sale’, placed it strategically so the lazy bird would see it. Sure indeed the bird saw the can and immediately came and asked the cat how much were they. No, he stood on one branch of a tree near the can, far enough to prevent the cat from easily jumping on him. The cat said: It’s very cheap, ‘It costs only one feather per worm’. The bird found it so cheap, considering he doesn’t need to dig around to look for worms for his meal. So he told the cat he would buy one. He swooped and took one worm, flew and paid the cat with one feather. He flew to another tree and started eating the worm. ‘Yummy, he said. I should buy one more’ So he went back to the cat took one worm and dropped the feather as payment, and ate the worm. It was getting even more delicious, so he went to get one more and then one more and another one, and he diligently paid for each worm with a feather each time. On his last trip he took the worm but he could not fly he just realized that he run out of feathers that he could not fly anymore. The cat who patiently waited for this moment, pounced on and gobbled up the lazy bird and burped after the very delicious and filling meal.
You see the devil lets you forget about tomorrow, makes it that you only focus on today and now. He utterly makes sure that we would not think about the bad and horrific consequences of our present actions and think only about the physical and material pleasures and gratification of today and now.
The second aspect we need to realize is the devil is not in hell but he is here on earth amidst the living. What would he do in hell? He does not have anything to do there, his job there is already done. Those in hell are those he successfully manipulated to be rewarded to be there. He is amongst us, because he needs to influence us of all his devious and cunning ways. The sad part is when we succumb to his gimmicks we subsequently pass on his evil acts to others. Once we are already in this situation we would also cause the ruin of other people close to us or people we care about as we become the instrument of the devil and lead our loved one to choose the wrong path and make wrong decision too.
The third aspect is, the devil doesn’t look ugly or scary or dark skinned as they are frequently portrayed in the movies, books and television. He is a master of disguise, he will use people you love, people close to you, people you adore or have influence over you or people you can never say no to. So he could be using your mother, your lovely girlfriend or wife, your teenage son, your husband, your officemate or somebody that you find very appealing and irresistible.
Yes the devil is very cunning, manipulative and convincingly deceptive that we humans are too weak and too simple to see that we are already at its mercy. We are helpless and thus could not easily see we have already been trapped in its schemes. It is powerful and subtle at the same time that many times we cannot anymore distinguish right from wrong. Since we are too weak and vulnerable to see the situation we are in, we should always make sure that we are not a receptacle of the devil’s hideous plans or be an instrument of his evil activities. But how can we successfully do it when it uses all possible tactics to lure us to go the wrong way? Always remember, though the power of the devil could be overwhelming to us humans, the power and strength of the devil however is nothing compared to what God can do to crush it and protect us from falling into its diabolical trap. The only way to do this is to pray. Pray all the time especially before you start your day. Pray that the Holy Spirit would fill your hearts and minds through the day so no one or nothing can take the place that should only be inhabited by the Holy Spirit.
Always remember God loves you!