The Devil in the Quarantine
As we enter into this Quarantine, we must remember that the devil will not let this opportunity pass him by without seizing it for our spiritual destruction. Consider that the demons knew that this virus was emerging and were able to predict, given the power of their angelic nature, the potential consequences and reactions of the people and nations of the world.
They know the structure of our cultures much better than we do, and could forecast the potential of the virus to destabilize our lives with great accuracy. They likely foresaw the closing of Churches, the closing of schools, and the closing of places of business and leisure.
Most importantly, they foresaw our fear. The foresaw the burdens that this virus-induced social destabilization would place on people in every nation on the planet. Without much deliberation, but with diabolical calculation, their plan was crafted and ready to be launched.
As you enter into your Quarantine, which may end up being as long as an entire season of the year, know that it will be characterized by a certain kind of spiritual warfare which will be unfamiliar to a great number of us.
This spiritual warfare will hit us on specific areas of our humanity:
- frustration with others
What might the devil suggest to you personally today?
While at home with children, the devil's plan might look like the following. Take note of the progressive nature of his temptations, where each depends on our consent to the previous suggestion:
- "Those kids are a nightmare! I am definitely not having any more!"
- "I just want to strangle somebody!"
- "If they don't stop making so much noise, I'm going to scream and break something!"
- "I am such a terrible parent."
- "My kids won't listen to me. Why do I even try?"
- "Just one drink will take the edge off."
- "Just two or three drinks, then I won't care about anything."
- "I just don't care anymore."
- "To hell with it all!"
If we have followed the devil down this path, it will very difficult to undo the problem. We then risk ending up as his puppet, whom he can easily manipulate and destroy.
While at home and feeling "stuck" with family members when we are used to having the freedom to go about our day, work, study, play, shop, see friends, etc.:
- "I want to do what I want to do. I'm going crazy in this house."
- "I'm going to my room."
- "I'm going to just 'check out' until this madness is over."
- "I don't want to think about anything. I just want to watch TV."
If we follow the devil into isolation, we are left to our own disordered devices. From there, he can easily push us into extremes of disordered behavior:
- Gluttony with foods and snacks and alcohol or even drugs.
- Immersion into alternate realities through binging on shows and movies.
- Slavery to lust through pornography, for which we are easy prey in this culture.
Do not fear. The idea of a virus or a plague is not something new. God has willed to permit calamities in our world for a purpose. Do not permit yourself to be disturbed by such a thought that this is outside of God's providence. The world God made is not perfect but flawed, just as we are not perfect but flawed. We must expect pain and suffering and trials to come to us. We must also love God and know that, in such times, He calls us to simply love and trust Him more.
For people who are stuck in their homes and unable to do go about their normal life:
We will be tested these days by the pride by which we seek to control our own lives absolutely and which leaves no room for God's intervention and providence.
- Renounce the spirit of pride and of disobedience, the spirit of self-glory and autonomy, that satanic spirit of self-determination which leads us to push God away instead of serving Him humbly.
For people who feel isolated with only their family:
We will be tested these days by the desire to spend time with the friends we have elected for ourselves instead of embracing the call from God to love, and to bring His love to, those whom He places before us.
- Renounce the spirit of indifference, which inspires us to reject the ones whom God has placed in front of us and whom He has called us to love in this moment.
For people who are now, to a certain extent, home-bound:
We will be tested these days by our inability to enjoy the good things of this life while we are restricted in where we are permitted to go.
- Renounce the spirit of agitation and frustration, and the rejection of the mysterious will of God, which sometimes places us where we do not wish to be. Realize that God is capable of bestowing upon you a joy that can make life itself a good that will sufficiently satisfy.
For people who feel lonely and long for companionship:
We will be tested these days by a desire to be with certain people with whom we share common enjoyments and who make us feel alive and happy.
- Reflect on the fact that this limitation of your socializing is permitted by God for a reason. Then, honestly, humbly, answer the question: do I treat Our Lord as if He matters more to me than anyone else? If the answer is not sufficient, then this loneliness is an alarm sounding in your soul and calling you to present yourself to Our Lord and to ask Him to teach you how to pray well, so that His friendship may become the foundation of all companionship you seek.
For people who are burdened with feelings of depression and sadness:
We will be tested these days by a feeling of life being worthless and meaningless, and by a feeling of sadness stemming from the fact that we are unable to do what we want or change our situation.
- Renounce the spirit of despair and of control and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you that He is the Lord of all creation and the Lord of history, and that these events are part of His plan. Rejoice, then, knowing that you are in His hands and His divine providence is offered to you. Then pray, asking Him to encourage you. Follow His inspiration at that point, and change what needs to be changed in order to make your soul open and welcoming to His grace.
Be on alert: Satan will seek to fill your boredom with his own suggestions:
Name now, in prayer or meditation, the temptations that you know the devil is going to throw at you when you are:
Determine, now, that you will not seek to escape into the fantasy of alternate realities through sin and an indulgence in the technological escapes which our generation knows far too well.
Determine, instead, that you will ask the Holy Spirit for help every time you are tempted so you may pass this test and make progress in the spiritual life through this trial.
Satan has devised many fancy tools to keep us spiritual infants, and this quarantine is a fine time for him to invite us to embrace them all. In the Name of Jesus, renounce his offers and reject his voice!
We must enact preemptive counter-measures and predict the Enemy's assault.
This way, we will not only avoid being caught off guard but will also ensure we are unwilling accomplices in the devil's plan of sin.
Three things to enact:
- Intend from the beginning of the day, to be patient and gentle in speech with all in the home.
- Embrace this special call from God to practice the virtue of patience, gentleness, moderation, generosity, self-denial, and leisure with God.
- Pray, first thing in the morning, and ask God to give you what you actually need for this day:
My Lord, I find myself tested in new ways in this time of quarantine. I know my weaknesses, and I know that the devil knows them as well, and that these will be more apparent to me today. I ask you to bind my wounds and the weaknesses of my will, to pour Your healing oil upon them, to tend to them, and to teach me how to grow strong in grace and faith in You. I ask you to bind, also, the demons that prowl about this world, and the demons that prowl against me and my family. Strike them blind through the intercession of Your Holy Mother, of St. Joseph, your foster-father on earth, of St. Michael and all the angels, and of all the saints who served You faithfully on earth and stand before You in glory this day. Give me the life and strength which comes only from union with You. Give me a desire for You, and then fulfill that desire, O Jesus, my God and my All. Amen.
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