“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
You have an enemy, and it is not your spouse. The devil wants to take you, your marriage, and your family down.
One day as I was teaching my high school students on the faith, I told them that Satan hates us and wants to destroy us. l could sense skepticism in the room, not about the devil’s motives, but more about whether or not he actually exists. In an attempt to illustrate how important it is to be aware of our enemy, I drew a parallel with the need for soldiers to wear camouflage in wartime. “What advantage does that have in battle?” I asked. “The element of surprise, right?” one student answered. Exactly – Satan does not want to be noticed. He is more effective and more destructive if you never see him coming.
Not acknowledging the devil gives him the element of surprise in our lives. We all need to recognize the fact that we do have an opponent and he is “prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour,” as St. Peter wrote (5:8).
We also need to “resist him” and “flee from him.” St. Peter gives us guidance on how to do this: be “steadfast in faith” (5:9). We are unable to resist the devil without being connected to God. On our own we will lose this battle, and the devil knows this! Satan knows that he is not stronger than God, so he wants to disrupt our communication with Him and cut off the supply that God is giving to us. It is when we are disconnected from the Lord that we are vulnerable.
To guard against the devil’s plan, we must be vigilant and fortify our lives with these 5 provisions: Prayer, the Sacraments, Sacred Scripture, the Church, and Our Lady.
- First is the power of prayer. We can be made stronger to resist the devil through a commitment to daily personal prayer, couple prayer, and family prayer.
- Second, we have the Sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, to fortify us. These gifts are powerful open lines of communication with God through which He forgives and heals us, as well as feeds, strengthens, and unites us with Him.
- Third, in the Sacred Scriptures we hear God’s voice and come to know who He is. As St. Ambrose says, “We have been given Sacred Scripture so that God and man may talk together; for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying.”
- Fourth, we must study and live our Catholic Faith as members of the Church. He feeds, shepherds, and tends his flock through His Church (cf. Jn 21:17). Jesus promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against her (cf. Mt 16:18). The Church was given authority by Christ, and thus we must heed her words on faith and morals as she does not speak on her own (cf. 1 Tm 3:15).
- Fifth, Our Lady is not only a great model of being a follower of Christ, but also Our Mother who wants us to fall in love with her Son. Jesus is the one who gave Mary to us as Our Mother from the cross, so when we welcome her into our homes we obey Him and open a great gift.
Through faithfulness in our prayers, the Sacraments, the Sacred Scriptures, being committed to the Church, and turning to Our Lady, we dive deeper into the loving arms of our loving God. He will make us battle ready, and we will not be defeated by the enemy!