Nowadays we tend not to want to speak of the devil and his deceptions. Many current (and erroneous) theologies would have us believe that the person of the devil does not exist, that he is a medieval artifact, and perhaps there is evil in the world but not Satan.
Well, Satan exists and he is very much at work.
I think one of the devil’s great deceptions has been and continues to be the belief that he doesn’t exist.
Scripture tells us that Satan is the Father of Lies. His lies seem very convincing. He is adept at striking at where we are most vulnerable. He loves to leave us disturbed, frightened, confused. He enters into shame and amplifies it greatly. He can take our effort to be loving and holy and try to disrupt it by confusion. He always is putting doubt into our minds for that is where he strikes — in our minds, casting doubt that subsequently disrupts our hearts and generates shame and fear. His entry points are our senses. He will use our eyes, ears, noses, hands and tongues as well as our imaginations and memories as avenues into our minds to cast that doubt that creates that confusion that generates shame and guilt and fear.
Just look at the story of Adam and Eve to see all of this played out in clarity. God put that story into the Bible for a reason: to give us Satan’s play book so we do not have to succumb to his temptations and deceptions.
“Know yourself!” said some philosopher whose name I cannot immediately recall. Know where you are most vulnerable, where the sources of your shame may be, and be close to God in those aspects of your lives. Pray ardently to God when you find you are exposed in your frailty. Jesus will come to you in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus has defeated the devil once for all. He reassures us that Satan has no real power over those who have been reborn in baptism and bask in the light of the Resurrection.
Love is greater than death. Mercy is stronger than sin. Satan is no match for God’s grace. There is no need for fear.