I don’t like giving Satan too much credit. I think it makes Christians look ridiculous and weak-willed, unable to take responsibility for our own bad decisions. You know, like Adam and Eve did? He said, “She made me” and she said, “The serpent tricked me.” In a way, yes, these were true, but we don’t see that either of them repented and said, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! Through my fault, my fault, my own most grievous fault.” On another level, they couldn’t help it, could they? That sudden loss of innocence left them blindsided and banished from the garden. All of a sudden, they were naked and began the curse of original sin. Part of which is the blame game. It is so easy to look outside of ourselves and grope for a reason to why things fall apart. Why the chaos? Why the mayhem? Why the disease? Why the evil?
Of course we know how the story unfolds, thousands of years later, or is it hundreds? Does it matter? Jesus would show up and redeem the whole sordid situation.
It really bugs me at first inclination when I hear someone say, “It was the devil.” I’m too hard on people and hard on myself. Maybe it’s a form of pride when I think we Christians are above the influence of the enemy. We think we are unscathed. Isn’t that similar to dismissing evil, Satan, and sin? The term “moral relativism” comes to mind.
Father Richard Heilman posted an article recently about how he supposes we are at the end of the 100 year reign of Satan. He made some interesting points. He described how when we’re near the end of an era, time seems to speed up.
The Latin phrase, motus in fine velocior, is commonly used to indicate the faster passing of the time at the end of an historical period. I’ve heard it said that it means, “Things accelerate toward the end.”
It is important to understand Satan’s names: “diabolos” means “he who places division or separation,” and “daio,” the root of “demon,” means “to divide.” In these final 5 years of Satan’s reign, we have all seen how these outrageous demonic activities have caused great division in our families and communities.
If God has allowed Satan 100 years to destroy the Church and time is running out for him, it stands to reason that indeed, the enemy is doing all he can to kill, steal, and destroy. He’ll stop at nothing, so to speak. But I digress. It is as easy to be afraid as it is to cast blame. We live in an age of anxiety. This points to all the more reason for Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. But that is another post. Suffice it to say, the enemy is stopped dead in his tracks by Our Lady.
Sister Lucia of Fatima reported, “Do not be afraid, she has already crushed his head.”
In keeping with not giving the enemy too much credit, let us look to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and the life, death, and resurrection of God the Father’s only begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
On October 14, 2017, I had the honor of hosting a rosary rally in observance of the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. We had seventeen attend, including little ol’ moi.
Whenever you stand up for Our Lady, you’d better be ready for some pushback from the adversary. He’s afraid of her. We know that. Her humility squashes his pride. Funny, how that works.
I always think I’m prepared for the onslaught. I think I won’t be blindsided. Wrong.
We had a water damage situation in our basement. No hurricane, no overflowing tub from above. Just some rusty bolts, causing leaks behind the dry wall. Black mold seeped through. After two weeks of a torn-apart bathroom, the natives get restless.
Our son has autism. He’s 27 and lives in the basement. This was difficult for him. He had to use Mom and Dad’s shower and come up stairs to use the bathroom. In addition, in September, he had to attend his Granny’s funeral.
A few days before the Rosary Rally, I asked my youngest daughter to clean the kitchen, as I dragged myself to bed. I couldn’t land on the mattress soon enough. She looked under the sink for dishwasher detergent, but didn’t see the natural stuff that I’d recently bought. She used Dawn, instead. Hmmm.
My husband stumbled out to the coffee pot the next morning and in socked feet, stepped in a sudsy puddle. That would have been enough, except that our floor is made up of interlocked laminate boards. That means when water finds its way under the seams, they swell and buckle. The floor is ruined.
In the same week, our other daughter sideswiped the minivan against a shopping cart corral in the middle of a Trader Joe’s parking lot. Her text message read, “It’s not that bad, but definitely some chipped paint.” Great. But honestly, it could be so much worse.
“You do that once,” I told my friend. Why did I say that? Because once upon a time, when I was twelve years old, back in 1976, the first time we’d owned a dishwasher, we ran out of Cascade. I used Joy, that liquid lemony, soapy stuff. Mountains of suds leaked out of the dishwasher, all over the lineoleum floor. I remember it like it was yesterday. It scared me silly and I felt bad about doing it. That’s why I say, “You do that once.” Like running out of gas, or leaving your lights on in your car, or forgetting to pay the power bill. Pick any of those. When it comes to facing consequences, experience is the best teacher, right?
Within the days of the Rosary Rally, before and after, my son wrestled with depression and anger. It was constant. I have another friend, Mary, who wisely said, “When the spiritual realm is stirred up because we stand for Our Lady, the enemy goes after the weakest link.”
Sometimes, I’m the weakest link. Other times, it is someone else.
My son bears the heaviest cross in our family. He always has.
My husband and I struggled to help our son. We were in constant prayer.
I questioned Our Lady. “Where are your signal graces? I’m not seeing them.”
My son had three tantrums within one day. The first was with me in the morning. The second was with my youngest daughter in the afternoon. The third was with my husband around suppertime.
I lay upstairs in my daughter’s twin bed, awaking from a well-deserved nap. I heard my husband trying futilely to manage the situation. I whispered to the ceiling, “Why is this happening?” Then I prayed the Memorare.
Remember Oh Most Gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought they intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, Oh Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
I prayed it three times.
Then, descending the stairs, somehow, I was able to heed to my guardian angel, who I believe whispered to me, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
I talked to my son about what it means to be a man, referring to his Dad, St. Joseph, and Jesus. I talked about living with a family, about how we share and forgive. I reminded him of the compassionate person he is.
That was the miracle through all of this, from start to this finish. I kept composure. I guess it’s true what Paul said in Philippians 1:6, which is, I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. My conversion continues. In another place in Scripture, Paul says, “I walk out my salvation with fear and trembling.”
It was almost immediate, how the turmoil stopped. Chaos and raging winds just left, and we had peace again.
Our spiritual tempest passed, and I thought, “Whew! That was a doozy.”
Then I thought, “That’s the best he’s got.”
We can think of that, twofold.
First, we take it on, hands on hips, “Bring it on. Show me what you got. I’m ready.” And I look at what happened in our home, in our family, and it could have been so much worse. Nobody was too badly hurt. Everything was fixed. Especially souls. We forgave one another and moved on in LOVE. The enemy’s attempts to destroy were meager and impotent, relatively speaking.
Second, we think of, “That’s the best he’s got,” in regards to what the enemy offers as nothing good. The list: lies, hate, violence, worry, and disease. In essence, garbage, really.
So to give credit where credit is due, we announce, “That’s the best he’s got.”
Copyright 2017 Susan Anderson