[Dear Readers, some words are garbled goosh. Please try to make out the context, for I am trying to write with an old IPad which does not allow for much editing; and it seems to have a mind of its own when I type and cannot see the lines being written. Blind faith that the thoughts are there, or so I hope!]
It would be easy, when the devil is using situations and persons to create chaos and hindrances, to react by focusing on the events. That is exactly what one must resist doing. While very human to get distracted, upset, or have what the devil delights in outcome--confusion--we must not veer, especially from prayer and praise.
So it was that this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit kept with the prayer concerns entrusted to me. Fr. V., in a far off land, had asked for prayers for a preached retreat he was leading, preparing seminarians for their first priestly professions in his religious order, the Spiritans, the Community of the Holy Spirit. Ah, they are alive and thriving in the Christian Faith, with burgeoning growth in priestly vocations!
There are holy friends who have specific and major prayer needs. Family has prayer requests. Yes, there are so many concerns requiring prayer, that wouldn't it be just like the devil to try to distract us, especially this hermit, from remembering to pray for each and every one? So we must remain focused, no matter how irritating or amazing is the devilry going on around us or grappling into our inner lives.
I think of St. John Vianney, whose bed would be shaken across the room, flames leaping up around it. He would calmly but firmly, with a touch of humor, tell the devil to give it up, as then the saint turned over and went back to sleep. I think of St. Padre Pio who took beatings from the evil one, yet he did not cease in his prayers for soulless, regardless the assaults.
So we must not react other than to focus all the more in our loving and joyful or even our pleading conversations with God.
On another note, literally, Fr. V. sent an email, expressing some frustration with his internet service, for every time he tried to write more of an instructive and encouraging message, it would be lost. He was finally able to get a few lines sent, including that the retreat is going well. He emphasized that I must continue to go to the Mass, ignoring the human element, as he phrased it. Although he did acknowledge how difficult that is to do in practice.
So, one must not react as how the human in us would be inclined to react. We must react as God would react, as Jesus did react. He was firm, resolute, in command of the situation in a calm way mostly, but at times he strongly rebuked the devil. Jesus, also, turned his face toward Jerusalem and walked toward his time of Crucifixion with courage and strength, resolute to fulfilling His ultimate mission.