This refers to the devil, actually the smartest of all conspirators. A pure spirit, he has the great advantage of knowing things instantaneously and can have the power to organize and orchestrate things according to his evil purposes. He can do this so well that we may not even realize he is behind all the mess. In fact, he is most happy when we tend to ignore him.
Just the same, he actually cannot move without at least the knowledge or the tolerance of God. And so we should not be too alarmed. But we have to be prepared to deal with this phenomenon.
If God allows the devil to trick on us, it is because a greater good can be derived from it. We need to be aware of this truth of our faith to avoid reacting improperly when victimized by the devil.
Besides, God always gives the person targeted in the devil’s games the appropriate grace to handle the trials. As St. Paul would put it, “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor 10, 13)
In this regard, it is good to review the story of Job (1, 1-22) so that we would know the real reason why God allows us to be tempted and to suffer evil in spite of our effort to be faithful to God. It can only show that God has confidence in us, that he does not allow us to suffer more than what we can bear, that he simply wants to test us and to strengthen and mature us, etc.
It can also happen that God allows us to be tempted by the devil and thus experience some suffering, as a way to pay and atone for our sins. It can also be that God wants to point to us the area in our spiritual life where we are still weak and therefore needs developing.
Let’s remember that nothing happens in our life without a reason. God allows temptations and the consequences of sin to come to us for a good reason. We just have to react properly to these predicaments and avoid reacting in a purely human way that would miss the real significance of these temptations and the sufferings they bring.
In any event, we should remember that temptations are no obstacles in our relation with God. They can and should serve as a stimulus to get closer to God. It’s when we are tempted that we need God the most.
But we should not forget the continuing evil designs of the devil on us. The moment a bad thought enters our mind, we should reject it immediately, not giving it a second to entertain it. The bad thought should immediately make us run to God. This would not be a sign of cowardice, but rather of the most basic expression of common sense and prudence.
With the devil we should not give even the smallest of opening. We already have been amply warned that he can easily outsmart us because of his superior intelligence that unfortunately is used for evil instead of for good.
He usually attacks on our weakest moments — when we are tired, about to go to bed, or when we are burdened with so many concerns and are losing our grip on God. It is in these moments when we have to intensify our prayers and our awareness of the communion of saints which connect us with all the saints and angels in heaven and on earth. We are actually well protected, in spite of our weaknesses.
In the end, we should never be afraid. We should not allow our ship of faith, hope and charity sink!/WDJ