the saints earnestly recommend…to discover our temptations (through counsel and fellowship), and it is for the same reason that the devil, who desires nothing more than to destroy us, hinders us as much as he can from understanding our temptations….nothing pleases the devil more than to meet with one that will not discover his temptations, for then, since he fights with him hand to hand, he is sure of victory, according to the words of scripture, ‘Woe to him who is alone; because if he comes to fall, there is no one to help him up.’ On the contrary, adds the saint, there is nothing the devil fears so much, and which gives him so much pain, as to see himself discovered, exposed to others. For then he loses all courage and hopes of gaining victory….Saint Ignatius…makes use of the following comparison: he says that when the devil tempts us, he deals with us as a man does who solicits to evil a young woman who has prudent parents, or a married woman who has an honest husband. The first thing the young man does is to hinder the young woman from saying anything to her father or mother, or the wife to her husband, and fears nothing more than to be discovered, because then all hope of effecting his wicked designs are lost; whereas, as long as they keep it secret, he thinks he has still ground to hope. It is thus, continues our holy founder, that when the devil would deceive anyone, the first thing he does is to hinder him from discovering his temptations through counsel, living alone in secret, as long as the temptations are concealed, the devil is sure to overcome and to obtain what he desires…On the contrary, the devil fears being exposed to a superior or confessor, ’whoever does ill hates the light’. St Alphonsus Rodriguez ‘The Practice of Christian & Religious Perfection’
I posted this in regards to the dinner party last night and recent Hospice work. Alone, or amongst spiritually unhealthy fellowship, we are abandoned to our own devices, fodder for the manipulative and clever Satan. Extreme self-righteousness, the desperate need to be right, spiritual fanaticism are some of the ugliness willing to arise. Subtly, the nuances of pride and brokenness allow us to pull the wool over our own eyes. In darkness, a life lived in secret, or affirmed within a strangling crowd, trends severely toward delusion, self-deceit and thus a falling away from grace. Counsel providing accountability does not have to be direct. I do not have to pour myself out to everyone in order to receive enlightenment regarding faults and proclivities to temptation. Remaining honest, open, and willing, the Holy Spirit will speak, an awareness for the wiles and ways of evil made apparent. Words are not necessary for defining. It is good to entertain myself amongst those seeking the refinement of their Christian life, having fun while staying attuned, unafraid and vulnerable to others while strong and independent in conviction and knowledge of myself. Expectations held low, I listen to myself and others, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak loudest, all while enjoying life in simplicity and a lack of demand.