In the back, left hand corner, of Santa Sabina in Rome, there is a pedestal with a highly polished black stone. It is known as the lapsis diabolo. One day while Dominic was praying in the church, the Devil threw this stone at him. It smashed the slab the the saint was kneeling on. The stone looks a lot like the ancient Roman paving stones, however it is not.
Do you believe in the Devil? You have an enemy who seeks to destroy you with all his might. If you don’t recognize that you have an enemy, you loose the battle. This is the difficulty with terrorism. When traveling, a terrorist can be anyone among us, but we don’t recognize them. That is why we must be ever vigilant.
In his daily homily on 11 April 2014, the Holy Father said: “We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus? Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”
Our defense begins with a life of renunciation of evil. Here is the renunciation that we make at the Easter Masses:
Do you renounce satan? And all his works? And all his empty show?
Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God? Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you? Do you renounce satan, the author and prince of sin?
We must be like St. Dominic, who was vigilant at prayer. He had a strong devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Without the two, it is so easy to get caught in his snare. And, we need to have a devotion to St. Michael the Archangel. You can find the prayer in one of my last posts.