The Deceiver by LIVIO FANZAGA***
Satan seduces, but you are the one who decides. Even though his seduction is very powerful, he can not bend your will to do evil. Even though the tempest of thoughts, desires, resentment, and hatred he stirs in your heart is overwhelming, there is no sin without your free and conscious consent. Eve sinned because she wanted to sin. God has put our will exclusively in our hands.
There are apostles of evil. They are people who besides ruining themselves drag along other souls also. They have perverted themselves into becoming demons, as Saint Catherine of Siena asserted, and thus “fulfill the office of the demons,” inducing others to sin. It is truly said that one never sins alone. Our sin is negatively reflected in our neighbors. If we do not repent quickly and return to God the heart is hardened and, almost to reassure ourselves, we drag others along the way of ruin.
Eve was so possessed by evil that she did not hesitate to entice Adam also. “She also gave some to her husband, and he ate” (Gen 3:6). When you examine your life, remember all the times that by your words, evil example, and complicity you have pushed your neighbor into the arms of the evil one. Think of all those souls that are lost in sin because of you. Repent before God, repair the damages you have caused, and make yourself an apostle of good.
The corruptors of souls are the great strength of the demon. In the contemporary world, they occupy very significant and visible positions in various fields such as culture, science, politics or economics, including the realm of the mass media. They have learned the vernacular of flattery and lies from their teacher. Despising truth and exalting error, they disparage good and virtue while exalting evil and vice. They are the faithful servants of Satan, and they will go with him to his kingdom of death in recompense.
Watch out for such people, even if they are very close to you and united to you by bonds of affection. You show your worthiness as a human being by saying no to evil, even if the one who proposes it is most dear to you. If Adam had said no to Eve, he would have undoubtedly saved himself and perhaps even her. No human respect, no bond of friendship, no reason of human nature, nor any interest must ever cause you stay with anyone who proposes evil. It is much better to lose a friend or family member than to lose God for all of eternity.
Nevertheless, Adam took the fruit Eve offered him without argument, and he ate it. He blindly followed his wife, even when fell into the abyss. How many behave like this! Like leaves in the wind, they are dragged where the world wants, and Satan rejoices over the spoils obtained so cheaply. The law of the herd, public opinion polls, and social brainwashing dominate the modern world. You, however, must be very attentive to the voice of God. Keep your conscience illuminated by the Church and never stray from her, no matter what others think, even if they are those whom you love the most.
From Disillusionment to Illusion**
When man commits evil, he is inevitably degraded. He then opens his eyes and all that before seemed beautiful and desirable, afterwards entirely loses its attractiveness. First evil attracts you, then it poisons you. From the illusion of obtaining much happiness follows both disillusionment and disappointment. Once the fruit was eaten “the eyes of both were opened.” Adam and Eve had deluded themselves into thinking that they could become “like God” but found themselves deprived of divinity and its gifts. The conscience begins to feel remorse. That God Whom you have driven from your heart by sinning does not abandon you. In His goodness He makes you hear His voice in the depths of your being. It is a voice that disapproves of the evil you have committed and at the same time is an invitation to return to the straight way.
Consider this great grace that opens the eyes after the satanic temptation. It is the moment in which, if you are honest with yourself, you realize that Satan has deceived you. With all that he has offered you he has succeeded in destroying your dignity, morality and your soul. He has given you something, but he himself has taken your heart. You, like Adam and Eve, realize your nakedness. You have been stripped of sanctifying grace and of the gifts of spiritual beauty and wisdom that adorned you: now you see yourself in your misery.
The disillusionment that comes after every sin, with the verification of the deception, the remorse of conscience, and the consciousness of the damages you have suffered, constitutes a moment of great grace, even though in the context of a spiritual catastrophe. After every sin, the Divine Wisdom opens our eyes so that we see the despicable face of evil. This always happens unless a person, persevering on the way of ruin, suffocates his conscience and hardens his heart.
Adam and Even, having realized the lie of the tempter and the existential catastrophe into which they had fallen, would have been able and should have cried out to God from the depths of their misery. The Creator in His goodness would have listened to them and would have come to their aid. So we, dear friend, have at the moment of the grace of disillusionment the possibility of a ready rehabilitation, if we turn humbly and contritely to that God Whom we have foolishly abandoned.
Unfortunately, this happens all too rarely. More often, man falls again into that satanic deception, desiring to try again the fruit which has proven to be so untrustworthy and poisonous. The disillusionment is followed by a new illusion, and this process continues, so that man enters into a deadly mechanism that crushes the soul, driving it to blindness and to total death.
Many men waste their lives following illusions which are followed immediately by disillusionment. “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again,” declare Jesus (Jn 4:13). Only the mercy of God can break this satanic chain which renders us slaves, but you must cooperate with the grace which opens your eyes every time you do evil. Think of the last sin you committed. Were you happy to place your trust in the demon? Didn’t you become disillusioned, saddened, and degraded? Why then do you wish to repeat the same experience, believing again and again the allurements of the tempter?
There may come a time in which, having sinned, your eyes are no longer opened. It is a very alarming signal, because it means [ou are entering the spiritual status of impenitence. This happens when you advance unperturbed along the way of perversion and our conscience is finally snuffed out completely. Then the worst crimes can be committed without your feeling remorse. How many souls move in this level of deep darkness, in which they have given their unconditional consent to Satan and to his kingdom of perdition! Only a great grace, with the awakening of conscience, could now save them.