First, I want to the thank all who have prayed for me leading up to my 10th anniversary of ordination as a priest of Jesus Christ! I also want to thank all who have donated in any way toward the wonderful vestment and the celebration planned for this Sunday!
Finally, I want to welcome all who have come today to celebrate the priesthood – which is really a celebration of Jesus, our High Priest! I would not be a priest if our Lord had not done what He has done for us. He is the reason for our celebration! Please join me in thanking Him and praising Him! I must also recognize our Blessed Mother, Mary. She prayed for me and has been my Mother in the Order of Grace; without her intercession and loving heart I would not have become a priest. I also thank my parents, family, parishioners and many friends for your prayers, generosity and kindness! Together, let us thank our good Lord for His many blessings, love and faithfulness!
This week I offer the conclusion to the article by Servant of God,
Fr. John Harden, S.J., entitled: ‘Prayer and Grace’.
“Two Principles: There are two principles among others to remember in dealing with the devil:
First, the devil is by his fallen nature (isn't that good to hear?) a consummate deceiver. In fact, another name furnished us by Revelation for the devil is "the liar."
And the second principle is that the devil, for all his cunning and deceit, is never allowed to tempt us beyond our strength.
Let us look at each principle separately and see it in the context of prayer. The devil, therefore, being a liar by his fallen demonic nature, tries to deceive us by presenting what is really evil as though it were something good. He tries to hide his malicious designs behind a mask of piety; or if people are strong on justice, behind a mask of justice or some other specious claim. Hence it is the capital importance of supernatural shrewdness to identify what may seem to be a divine inspiration but is actually a demonic instigation.
However, we do not naturally have the light we need to cope with the devil. We are not naturally smart enough to outsmart the evil one. What we need beyond what we have is the capacity for discriminating between the two spirits of good and evil. And for that we must pray. We need light for many other reasons but there is none more fundamentally necessary than this one: light to recognize the devil because if we leave it to him, he will never appear for what he is. He will hide himself behind all kinds of disguises.
Proud persons are no match for the devil. The only remedy for pride is the practice of humble prayer, though I would add besides praying in general, individual prayer. While prayer itself is already an act of humility which God then graces by enlightening us to recognize the evil spirit, we should, in addition, pray for special light to distinguish the devil from the inspirations of grace.
Secondly, the devil is never allowed to tempt us beyond our strength. This means that we always have enough grace to overcome the devil but only if we have prayed. It cannot be too highly emphasized that when God permits the devil to tempt us – this does not necessarily mean when the
demonic temptation is on us – we already have enough light to recognize him or enough strength to resist him. This is no less true than with other trials in life and surely being tempted by the evil spirit is one of the trials of life. So here we cannot bank on grace already had. We absolutely must pray for additional light and more courage to identify and resist the devil when he assaults
us, otherwise we are liable to give in. Only in this way can we be secure. God sends us trials so that precisely at the moment of trial we might invoke the spirit of light and the spirit of fortitude in order to be able to cope with the evil spirit. Otherwise we run the risk of fighting the devil with inadequate arms, and fall victim, as are so many rash people today who are being overcome by this master
Let me close with a prayer that I hope thousands of Catholics – let me change the figure – millions of Catholics will once again recite daily to St. Michael the Archangel. How we need God's grace through the intercession of St. Michael today!
St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Restrain him, 0 God, we humbly beseech You and do You, 0 Prince of the
heavenly host, by the power of God, drive into hell satan and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”
Through the intercession of Mary, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, St. Joseph, St. Michael and St. Paul, may our good Lord renew all human hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit!