Battling Satan

By Marc Massery

Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one, in which Jesus tells St. Faustina:

Satan gained nothing by tempting you, because you did not enter into conversation with him. Continue to act in this way. You gave Me great glory today by fighting so faithfully. Let it be confirmed and engraved on your heart that I am always with you, even if you don't feel My presence at the time of battle (1499).

Here, Jesus says that St. Faustina did exactly the right thing to resist the temptations of the devil - she did not enter into conversation with him, despite his best efforts.

Virtue begins in our minds and in our hearts. That which we dwell upon often becomes that which guides our actions. For instance, if we frequently entertain thoughts of wrongdoing, chances are, we will fall into sin. We need to cut Satan off at the head. When we recognize a spiritual attack, the best we can do is to turn our hearts and minds over to the truth of who Christ is and what He promises - victory over sin through grace.

Satan's voice makes us sad or anxious. God's, on the other hand, gives us peace and joy. Through prayer, fasting, and mortification, we can learn to better distinguish between the two.

As Jesus implies above, we are always in the midst of a spiritual battle on earth, so we must respond with constant vigilance. Even if we were to reach the height of sanctity, Satan's attacks would never stop. Often, the holier the saint, the more aggressive his assaults. So do not equate your struggle against temptation with unholiness. Even Jesus was tempted. As He mentions in this quote, we give God glory when we fight temptation. Even if we feel overwhelmed by grief in the midst of spiritual battle, Christ is always with us. He wants this truth engraved in our hearts.

My prayer: Jesus, when I feel too weak to do what's right, to turn from thoughts of sin and self-pity, help me to remember Your promises. No matter how I feel, no matter what thoughts haunt me from within, give me the grace to follow in Your steps, rely on Your strength, and trust that You will see me through.

Read the previous Discovering the Diary.

The image above is the work of English painter William Blake (1757–1827). It's titled "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun."

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