If you didn't know, this past week was my first full week of teaching; Monday through Friday spent with the funniest, most inquisitive group of sixth through 8th graders you've ever met. They are going to be a joy to educate and learn from this year! (You can read my first week reflection here.)
One student asked me this thought provoking question, after sitting and thinking for moment:
"We're Christians, right? And because we're Christians we're not supposed to call people bad names, right? So... is it okay if we call the Devil bad names?"
What a question...
I would like to preface my answer by saying that in retrospect, this would have been a good question to send the student home with. Our school is Catholic but not all of our students are (including my questioner). But I cannot resist a good question, so after a little thought, this is what I told the student...
"The Devil is corporal, real being, just like God. But the Devil's goal is to interfere with our life and relationship with God as much as possible. All Satan wants is to be invited in to get in between us and our God. So, I don't think it's a good idea to tempt the Devil. It's probably best to not address him at all."
The Evil One is crafty. Just look at Genesis, where he prays on Adam and Eve's pride and love for one another. He takes our best pieces and uses them against, slowly and surely. He took a good piece of my student, someone who wants to condemn Satan and all his evil promises, and use it as a way into his little life.
But we don't have to call the Devil names to address him. We invite him into our lives when we willfully choose to do anything counter to the life Christ has called us to leave. Trashy TV, crude music, gossip with coworkers... those small sins build up making it easier and easier the Evil One to interfere. One more drink, snoozing for an extra hour on Sunday. It's the little things that create space for temptation and failure to resist.
Sometimes we forget that the Devil isn't just another boogieman. The Devil is a real, corporal being who wants to tempt us away from our loving God each and every day. Which is why we shouldn't call him names. He wrecks enough havoc on our lives without our taunting. The only thing we need to be saying to him is "not today."
Not today Satan. Not today.
During a time of transition, such as a move or beginning a new school-oriented schedule, it can be difficult to maintain our faith and good habits that have been built. But don't let a new slate interfere with your progress in your relationship with God! Oftentimes, change can be scary; rather than hiding in familiar, bad habits, let's try to use our good habits, our faithful habits to comfort us through this difficult time. Reach for the Word rather than the remote, choosing to walk with God rather than Jim and Dwight for the 117th (no matter how funny it is!)
In Lamentations, we are reminded that God's love is steadfast and never ceases. The Psalms are full of comforting reminders that our God is always with us. God walks beside us and leads us to still waters (Psalm 23) and in Psalm 27, we are told that God is the stronghold of our life, what could we possibly have to fear?
Rather than reacting as people of this world, frantically planning and preparing, anxious about the things we cannot control, we should rest in God's love with certainty. The book of Romans tells us:
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Thus, when we choose to rest in God's love through prayer, the Word, or the Holy Mass, we can do so in confidence that nothing will separate us from what we need most: God.
Don't fall victim to the snares laid before us, taunting us to seek comfort in earthly things. When we fix our eyes on the Lord and walk with a posture of confidence, freed in God's love, we can handle any change the coming months will throw at us!
Don't stop there, try these great posts:
Faith and Fertility
Mindfully Living the Faith
Why You Don't Need Chacos to be a Good Christian
If you haven't already, please take a minute and share A Catholic Compass with a friend or family member who could use some encouragement! Thank you!