Evil can’t stand on its own

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

That’s one thing we should always bear in mind whenever we are assailed by evil in any form. It always has to refer to something true and good which it tries to twist, distort, or outrightly deny. It cannot stand on its own. It offers nothing new, nothing original.

Knowing that fact gives us an effective way to deal with it, so we avoid falling for it. What we have to do is to refer ourselves to the truth and to the source of all goodness who is God.

This was how Christ dealt with the devil who tried to tempt him. (cfr. Mt 4,1-11) In that episode in Christ’s life, the devil quoted passages of Scripture to tempt Christ. But those passages were all twisted and distorted to suit the devil’s interest. Christ knew this and quickly clarified things. Eventually, the devil left Christ in peace.

This episode clearly shows us that it is the truth that will make us free. (cfr. Jn 8,32) It is our intimate relation with the God that will protect us from the very subtle tricks and wiles of the devil.

To defend ourselves from evil that will always hound us in our earthly life, we need to really know the truth well and to always keep in touch with God, never allowing ourselves to stay far from him. In this regard, we can never overemphasize our need.

Let us examine ourselves if indeed we have the truth that is already revealed in full by Christ, authoritatively taught by Church, and given witness to by the saints and the holy men and women through the ages, deeply embedded in our mind and heart.

For this, we indeed need to spend time every day reading, studying, and meditating on the gospel that contains the life and teaching of Christ. In doing so, we have to involve all our faculties — our mind and heart, intelligence, will, emotions, passions, imagination, and our memory.

We have to see to it that through our constant meditation of the gospel, the life of Christ becomes so clear to us that Christ becomes alive in us, and we become not only more familiar with his word and example but also truly enamored by it, so much so that the truth revealed by Christ becomes the living principle that enlightens our life and shapes our reactions to all the events of our life.

In other words, we should always have the presence of God, constantly referring things to him who never abandons us even if we feel otherwise. He is always by our side and is definitely for us whenever we have to grapple with temptation.

To handle evil in our life, it isn’t enough just to ignore and dismiss it outright. Such attitude would only embolden the evil one to trick us with ever more sophisticated temptations until it becomes almost impossible for us to resist them.

We have to expose the lie of that evil so that it will depart from us on its own. This was what happened when Christ was tempted. Christ simply exposed the lie, the clever twisting and distorting of the Scriptural passages, and the devil eventually left him.

This attitude and reaction validates what we are told when we are tempted: that God does not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear, but with the temptation would also give us the grace to deal with it properly. (cfr. 1 Cor 10,13)

With the way things are now in the world, with evil and temptations holding sway over a great majority of the people, especially the young, there is a need to encourage everyone to know the truth well and to be with God always, mainly through prayer.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com