October 7, 2022

Be Our Guest / Mike O’Connell

Don’t let the devil win

Being an athlete all of my life—both as a player and now as a coach—I have trained physically, mentally, psychologically and emotionally to perform at the highest level and, yes, to win. The more I know about my competition (their strengthens and weakness) the better opportunity I have to defeat the opponent.

The devil has been trying to defeat us since the beginning of time. He knows our strengths and weaknesses, and he is very clever in trying to win the battle over our souls. So keep fighting—don’t let him win!

The devil knows that God so lovingly created us to love him and to be with him for eternity. One of the devil’s greatest tactics and strategies is to convince people that he doesn’t exist, so this frees us to do whatever we want without any consequence.

Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). So what is a strategy to not let the devil win?

  • Believe that the devil exists, and you know exactly what his intentions are; he is the father of lies.
  • Begin a prayer life. Find time to develop a relationship with our almighty Lord, Jesus Christ. Remember what Padre Pio said: the rosary is the weapon of today; when we say our rosary, the angels and saints rejoice.
  • Know your weaknesses and failures and confront them head on. Work to turn those vices into virtues through your good efforts.
  • Find time to read Scripture and the written word and let the Holy Spirit guide you. Work to have a clear mind, which is one of our greatest gifts.
  • Follow the examples of our Lord, especially when he was tempted in the desert by the devil. What was his reply to every question the devil asked him?
  • Seek out a spiritual advisor and holy people who can counsel and mentor you in living a good life, which will help you defeat the devil’s temptations.
  • Practice penance. The Bible tells us that certain sins can only be defeated or cast out through fasting and penance.
  • Turn to Mary. In our constant battle against the devil and his army, we must have recourse our Blessed Mother.
  • After you fail or fall, don’t give into despair, anger or resentment. Get up, admit your failure, but trust in the loving forgiveness and mercy of our Lord.
  • The most important: As read in the Gospel of Matthew, “Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and … love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37, 39).

Remember as you navigate this world and travel your spiritual journey: don’t let the devil win!

(Mike O’Connell is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington.)

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