I recently had plans to go to weekday Mass. My good intentions were nearly thwarted.
First, the natives were restless and I woke up not once, not even twice, but three times in the night.
At the break of dawn, I had to drag my exhausted, bedraggled zombie of a self out of bed. A cup of coffee and a few rushed prayers later, I felt almost human. The kids and I were ready to go, but just as I was buckling my toddler into her car seat, I caught a whiff of something toxic. I checked her diaper and sure enough, she had a blowout that was now leaking onto her outfit. Lovely. So the three of us rushed inside for a quick diaper and wardrobe change for the baby.
Onward Christian soldiers!
Back into the minivan and off to church! We merged onto the highway into a sea of cars and I thought, “God, if you really want me to go to Mass today, why are you making it so difficult?”
There was no reply, just constant bumper-to-bumper traffic all the way to my exit.
We finally made it into church and there in the presence of Christ, I thought of something I hadn’t before. It certainly wasn’t God blocking me from the Eucharist, making it difficult for me to get where I needed to be. He wasn’t the one encouraging me to stay home and snooze while I popped in a DVD for the kiddies or to turn around so I wouldn’t have to endure one more minute of heinous traffic.
But it was someone just as real but a whole lot harder for me to acknowledge. Maybe, just maybe, it was Satan whispering in my ear, telling me it was okay to not go to Mass, telling me I deserved a break and that God would understand, keeping me from the peace I so desperately craved, preventing me from giving thanks to Christ.
Nobody talks about the devil much anymore. Honestly, most days I don’t give much thought to his presence, and I definitely embraced God’s existence long before I accepted Satan. Why talk about a somewhat abstract source of fear, temptation, damnation, and evil when we can focus on the real mercy and love of Christ?
Interestingly, belief in the devil is a sign of spiritual maturity, according to many theologians, including Pope Benedict XVI.
I guess that makes me a teenager in terms of my divine development.