Archdiocese of Chicago

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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Devil You Don’t Know: Recognizing and Resisting Evil in Everyday Life

By Fr. Louis Cameli

This past week, Ave Maria Press published my latest book The Devil You Don’t Know: Recognizing and Resisting Evil in Everyday Life. When I was writing the book, my friends wondered why I was bothering to deal with the devil. So much “devil talk” seems to be associated with Hollywood and very strange experiences. In fact, what we have to deal with is far closer to home and far more ordinary than we would have ever suspected. I had to explain myself.

Across the years of my priesthood, I have been very concerned about spiritual formation, in other words, about helping people to be true and faithful followers of Jesus. An important dimension of discipleship is struggle. Jesus told us that following him would involve struggle. Furthermore, he taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” And by the way, that last phrase, as Pope Benedict XVI has told us, can also be translated as “deliver us from the evil one.”

All of us struggle in the Christian life, and all of us experience temptation. All of us face a formidable adversary who lurks in the ordinary humdrum of everyday life. Drawing on the Word of God, I identified four principal works of the devil that make their way into our ordinary lives: deception, division, diversion, and discouragement. Our adversary wants to pull us away from our journey of discipleship. The evil one wants to derail our relationship with God.

I want to say to people, “Don’t be surprised. Don’t feel alone, as if it were only you who struggled. And, above all, don’t be without hope, because Jesus is with us and he is our hope.”  

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