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Anima Christi Faith Formation Ink Slingers Kerri Prayer Series

Line-by Line Prayer Reflection: Anima Christi, Part IX

This is the ninth of a series of posts reflecting line-by-line on the Anima Christi.

Anima Christi Oct reflection

“From the malicious enemy, defend me.”

Every Sunday for months now, after receiving communion, I have been slowly saying the Anima Christi prayer, savoring the words as I say them. Knowing this post was coming up, I found myself lingering on this line: From the malicious enemy defend me. Each time I pondered it and wondered what sort of reflection I could write on this.

I should not have worried. The Holy Spirit had it under control. As my family has worked through a sudden fear of the dark our three year old twins have developed, I have found myself reflecting on darkness, evil spirits, the devil, guardian angels, and the prayers we invoke during times when we feel under attack. All perfectly timed contemplations.

“From the malicious enemy …”

Although we don’t see him, the devil is always looking for ways to turn us away from God. He would like nothing more than for us to believe that God does not exist. The enemy is conniving and smart. He knows how to make evil and sin look tempting and harmless and even like innocent fun. As the prayer says, he is malicious.

Malicious is the adjective of the noun malice, which is defined as a “desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness” (dictionary.com).

Michael Tramples Satan by Guido Reni (1636)
Michael Tramples Satan by Guido Reni (Rome, 1636)

This makes me think of how the devil uses humans in his hatred for God. All that the devil does is because of his mean-spiritedness. The Evil One hates humans because we were created by God, in his image and likeness, and then God became man, one of us, thus lifting humans to a place of importance in the heavenly Kingdom. The devil hates this and wants to get back at God. The devil delights in causing humans to fall out of God’s favor. He is Enemy Number One.

In previous lines we have asked for strength, asked Jesus to hide us, and begged Him to not let us be separated from Him. Here we identify the threat we fear. It is the devil, the evil one, the enemy.

“… defend me.”

Two simple words. It is hard to imagine the power of these two words. The devil works hard to get to us. VERY hard. He never stops. He works hard on those close to Christ and those who are striving to lead holy lives and build strong relationships with Christ. He works hardest on those that devote their lives to serving Christ, particularly our priests without whom we would not have the Eucharist. But no matter how hard Enemy Number One works, we have Jesus on our side. These two simple words carry great power. As I pray through the Anima Christi, I now find myself slowing down through this line and savoring these last two words. My heart feels at peace as they roll off my tongue.

Jesus loves us and wants us with Him. He wants to protect us like a father protects His children. He desires to come to our aid when we are threatened. The hard part for us, often, is to remember to call on Him.

“From the malicious enemy defend me.”

For me, praying through the words of this prayer each week is a gentle reminder of how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father. This line in particular brings a sense of peacefulness as I am reminded that Jesus has laid claim on my soul and all I have to do is choose to follow Him. By doing so, Jesus will defend me against the evil spirits that are working hard in the world to claim souls away from God.

I pray that we will all turn away from evil, seek solace in Christ Jesus, and be together in the Heavenly Kingdom one day.

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Faith Formation Ink Slingers Michelle

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

The devil went down to Georgia
He was lookin’ for a soul to steal
He was in a bind, he was way behind
He was willin’ to make a deal…

In the last few weeks it seems like all hell has broken loose around these parts of Georgia.   Ok, so maybe not all hell, but just when I think nothing else is going to go wrong, something does.  It’s so frustrating and draining to constantly be worrying about what’s going to happen next or when the other proverbial shoe is going to drop on us.

We recently had something really good happen for us financially that we’ve been praying about and working towards for a long time.  With this financial turn of events we happily thought that maybe, just maybe, we could start to get ahead and be on the up side of the financial world for a little while at least.  Of course you know how it goes, you get ahead one place and something happens somewhere else to bring you right back down.   For our family, living on one income and supporting so many people, it seems to be a constant struggle.  It’s exhausting and to be honest sometimes just overwhelming.  Still, we always trust in God to provide for our needs and He always does.

 There are moments when giving into the frustration and fear of how to provide for our family seems like the easier choice to make.  I can feel the devil standing behind me encouraging me to give up.  He whispers those words of doubt in my ear and prods me to turn from my faith and give in to despair.   When you feel like you are caught between a rock and a hard place sometimes you just can’t help but wonder how you will make it out of there.  Suddenly it also seems that in addition to the worries over money there are other worries too… the kids are unhappy, someone gets sick, a friend is suffering from loss, there seems to be endless obligations and so little time to rejuvenate.  It all becomes too much.  Despair takes over.

At this time the devil is jumping up and down hoping that with any luck he’s going to lure you to his side.  How much easier is it to just throw our hands up and say, “Forget it! I quit!” than to say, “I’m going to push through all this insanity”?  The devil knows this and is willing to do what it takes to help us make the decision to quit and to give up faith.

Recently I had an epiphany sitting in the laundry mat doing a week’s worth of my family’s laundry.  Our washer had broken and I was stuck dragging baskets upon baskets of clothes, towels and sheets to the laundry mat.  As I looked at the 8 dryers that were turning, full of just my family’s clothes, I suddenly understood St. Teresa’s words better than I ever had before.  She said, “God walks among the pots and the pans.”  I had heard this before and understood it, knowing that I could find God in my every day work at home, but what I didn’t realize, and what I would find that night sitting in that laundry mat was that God is present always, even when it’s doing something that I don’t want to be doing.  I certainly didn’t want my washing machine to break and to have to tote clothing for 12 people to the laundry mat.  I didn’t want to have all those people watching me drag in so many baskets, murmuring to themselves about how in the world one person could have that much stuff. I didn’t want anyone to stare at me as I began dropping dozens and dozens of coins into 9 different washing machines and I certainly didn’t want to have to spend $70 to wash our clothing when I knew we didn’t have that extra money to be spending.  Still, as St. Teresa would remind me, God was right there all along.  It was a strange thing to find God sitting next to me at the all night laundry mat.

Do you see God’s reflection in the glass?

The devil hates when you have aha! moments like this.  He’d much rather you give into the idea that God has abandoned you during these trials.  I can only imagine what he may have been thinking as I looked around me and saw God’s reflection in those dryer windows.  Surely he wasn’t happy with me.  Of course he took other opportunities to try to make me turn from God in the last few weeks.  When he found that the washing machine problems weren’t going to do it he reveled in the fact that a tire blew on our car and caused a lot of damage to our vehicle rendering it not drivable.  He knows that again, money will be an issue for us.  Likewise, he played on my mommy guilt this week when one of my kids felt like they needed more attention from me and that I spend more time with some of the other kids making her feel left out.  I immediately felt about 2 inches tall and so not worthy of the title “Mama”.   There were other problems that arose as well and I could hear him once again whispering in my ear, confirming my insecurities and doubts.  He’s a persistent fella after all.  Still, I am fortunate that I know Jesus has a much louder voice that I can hear over those devious whispers.  I just have to choose to listen to Christ instead of the devil.

No matter the troubles we face, big or small, God will never abandon us.  As Christ says in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  Jesus brings us a peace that we cannot find anywhere else.  When we place our trust and our troubles in his hands we find that the devil has no power over us and cannot use those unfortunate events in our lives to try to make us turn from our faith and from God.

The devil bowed his head
because he knew that he’d been beat…

When we choose to put our trust in the Lord the devil never stands a chance.  It may feel like he is stronger than we are but we have a not-so-secret secret weapon- God.  He knows us, He loves us, and He fights for us.  We just have to decide to fight the fight with Him.  When we do we will beat the devil every single time.