Now, God had given Francis a vision of his home with his brothers, and how it was been assaulted by demons. The demons couldn’t find a way in–all the brothers in his order were holy and prayerful. Then one day a brother was provoked to anger against another brother, and he had so much anger towards this other brother that he was trying to find a way to falsely accuse him of something.
This excerpt from the book is very telling, I had to quote it directly:
Right away, while Francis was watching, one of the demons entered the place and jumped on the brother’s neck, like a winning wrestler making his move on the loser. So Francis, alarmed that a wolf had attacked one of his sheep, called for the friar to come to him. The friar came running obediently. Francis instructed him to reveal immediately the poisonous hatred against his neighbor that he was harboring. He told him that such hatred had made him vulnerable to the Enemy’s assault. The brother was terrified to realize that Francis had read his heart, but he confessed everything. (pp 85-86)
How we too stumble
The story about Saint Francis is pretty amazing, as well as the gifts that God has given him. What I ended up taking away from this story is that we are that fortress that is constantly being assailed by the enemy. We have our temptations, and desires, and sometimes we develop vices instead of virtues. However, when we fall and stumble into mortal sin, we are in essence opening up the doors and windows for us to be assaulted by the enemy.
The thing about sin is that we can easily fall into it, and not think that we did anything wrong. When we say mortal sin, we usually think of the major sins–like murder, or maybe adultery. What we don’t think is those tiny sins that could be mortal. (Later on, I’ll discuss what makes a sin mortal).
In the story, the brother was good until he was provoked to anger, and we are reminded so many times to not let our anger cause us to sin. We say that he was so angry that he was willing to slander his fellow brother and get him accused of something that was simply not true. This is what opened the doors to the enemy.
The Way The Enemy Attacks
There are five main tactics that the enemy attacks us. These are: deception, accusation, doubt, enticement, and provocation. In the story that I shared with you above, the enemy used provocation. In order to provoke us, the enemy plants ideas (or thoughts), or arrange things in your life so that you’ll be moved to despair, anger, or even lust.
Anger is usually a simple way to get into our defenses, because when we’re angry, sometimes we’re blinded to what we say or do. We’re reminded of this when we read Ephesians:
If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. (4:26)
But how many of us fall into the trap of letting our emotions take control, and eventually lead us into sin? I know I’ve done it, and while I’m not too happy with what I’ve said afterwards, the good news is that I understand that I am in control of my emotions, and my reaction to things. I’m not passive, and just let things happen.
If we know how the enemy attacks, then we know what to guard ourselves from. What I loved about this account with Saint Francis, was that he was truly worried about the group of men that he was asked to be a shepherd to. This brings my thoughts to our families and how we’re asked to take care of them.
What we can do as parents?
We, as parents not only have the responsibility to teach our children the faith, but we also have the responsibility to protect them from things that are dangerous to them. This could be what’s on TV, in social media, games, the list goes on. Our homes is supposed to be a sanctuary–a place for not only prayers but truly a place a rest. A domestic Church.
However, how many of the enemies tools have we allowed to enter into our Church? How many wrong things that we watch on the screen, fill our minds or put in our ears? This is telling, since we’re inviting the enemy into our space–he no longer has to look for a way in.
As I close, truly think about ways you can keep your home, and your children holy. Not to bubble them but truly give them a break from the enemy assaults.
Until next time.