Sunday, April 19, 2009

Satan is a car salesman

This title is not meant to say anything negative about car salesman whatsoever. They are good decent citizens, just like any other group of people. The title I chose for this post is to explain some of the things I've learned about Satan and the way he operates in the world.

Satan started as an angel of God named Lucifer, but was too proud. He wanted to be like God, and continues to want this. We can see examples, such as in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempts Adam and Eve by saying they can be like God and know what God knows if they follow him. Satan wants nothing more than to be equal with God, even though he never will be. But Satan is very intelligent and that's what's so dangerous about him. Many may object and claim Satan doesn't exist. It's been said this is his greatest deception. All he needs is for people to believe this. But how can we say he doesn't exist? Do parents not abuse their children, do men not take advantage of prostitutes, are families not destroyed by alcohol abuse? Does Satan not laugh and be glad when these things occur?

Satan is like a car salesman, except instead of selling cars, he sells sin. Because of concupiscence, humans have a tendency toward sin. Francis of Assisi called his body and its desires "brother ass". What he meant was that, like Jesus said: "my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak". We all can fall under this category. We want to behave in a certain way and be holy, but the desires of the flesh sometimes overwhelm us. Satan knows this. So like a car salesman, he first finds out what type of sin we are most attracted to. Our concupiscence is on the market for our sinful desires. He shows us the main ones, as in the seven deadly sins: pride, anger, lust, gluttony, envy, jealousy, and laziness.  He asks us questions in our daily life to find out what we are looking for. Perhaps there is an opportunity to either work or to waste time. This is a question. The question is do we choose laziness or do we choose zeal. Satan then uses these to craft an opportunity to bring us into sin.

Satan may see a holy and righteous man who is doing good works. So he, the tempter, will offer this man an opportunity to be prideful. Satan asks, "You do all these good works for people of your community. You deserve recognition. Go, and tell others of your great deeds." Satan does not see a man being charitable and try to tempt him with laziness, because that is not something he is interested in. Just like a car salesman would not tempt a single man to purchase a minivan, the devil tailors his temptations to our strongest concupiscence.

Importantly there is much hope! Satan fears nothing more than the prayers of the righteous man. Prayer is the most effective weapon against Satan. We create a shield of protection around ourselves when we ask God to be a part of our lives. God is the light and Satan is the darkness, but darkness cannot ever survive in the light. Therefore if we continually ask God to help us, then Satan will not be there.

I read a book a little while back from the chief exorcist of Rome. He said Satan fears prayers, and fears the intercession of Mary and the saints, and fears the power of God. If we pray and align our will with the will of the Heavenly Father, then Satan has nowhere to hide. He will be driven completely away.

The best way to avoid sin is to avoid the occasion of sin. Surround yourself with holy people and holy deeds. If you see evil, get as far from it as possible as soon as possible. Sin is always easiest to fight the earlier you start. I forget which saint said this, I believe it was Francis of Assisi, but he said do not confront sin and then try to combat it. Instead, the moment you sense something could be sinful, run as far and as fast the other way as possible.

Let us pray that all people during this season of Easter turn away from the evil one and say Yes to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


  1. In your list of the seven deadly sins, you forgot greed or avarice. Jealousy is not usually on the list, since it's very close to envy. Also, laziness is more classically referred to as sloth (but that's nitpicking!)
    Another thing that Satan fears is humility. It's said somewhere in the Desert Fathers that the demons feared St. Anthony, not so much because of his fasts, his vigils, or religious exercises of that kind, but because of his humility.

  2. You're right Andy, great point. Thanks for clearing that up. Actually I think in my mind greed and envy are close, but then I accidentally put jealousy and envy, which are almost synonyms.

    You're right, sloth is the classical definition, but this is Catholicism for Everyone, not Catholicism for people Doctors of Sacred Theology. Just kidding :)

    Keep the comments coming. I appreciate them.