Deliver Us From Evil

The final petition of the “Our Father” builds upon the previous one about not falling prey to temptation.

The tempter, the one who hates us and wants to destroy our relationship with God, is Satan. This fallen angel is literally our enemy, for Satan comes from the Hebrew for “adversary” or “accuser.”

Having rebelled against God, the Evil One is bound for eternal damnation, and like a supernatural serial killer, he is out to bring as many people down to hell with him as possible. Satan tricked our first parents into sin, thus unleashing suffering, death, and corruption into God’s originally pristine creation. The Evil One has continued to make war against God – and His people – ever since.

As a result, we are engaged in a spiritual battle for our immortal souls.

This is not to terrify us, for Christ has utterly and irrevocably conquered through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and His victory will be made manifest at the end of time. We are safe as long as we remain in His protecting arms.

But at the same time, we must be aware that the devil is looking for opportunities to tear us away from God. Never open a door to evil; dabbling in the occult leads to real spiritual harm.

Let us pray as Jesus taught us, that we may be delivered from evil – from the Evil One, and from all of the tragedies, injustices, and disasters that beset our fallen world.

For more, see Catechism paragraphs 2850-54.

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Love God Above All

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 2052 through 2141:

  • The Ten Commandments are our roadmap to true freedom, as opposed to the bondage of sin; it is no accident that God revealed them after liberating the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, to teach a new way of life for a free people.
  • Indeed, this context is vital to understanding the profound meaning of the Commandments: they were given during a “theophany,” or God’s manifestation to His people, and His forming an intimate bond, a “covenant,” with them.
  • The Commandments are a great gift because they describe what we must do to abide in this deep relationship with God; He loved us first, and we respond with love toward Him by keeping the Commandments; the first three regard our right behavior toward God, and the rest govern our relationships with our neighbor.
  • The First Commandment expresses this wholehearted relationship: “I am the Lord your God…You shall have no other gods before Me.”
  • We follow this commandment by adoring God, submitting to Him as the Lord of all, to Whom we owe everything; by daily conversing with Him in prayer, uniting our sacrifices with Christ’s perfect sacrifice; by keeping the promises we make to God; and by helping others to come to the fullness of worship in the Church.
  • Conversely, we sin against God when we prefer other things to Him, and treat them as gods; this is idolatry; our idols need not be the false gods of paganism, for we create modern idols all of the time – money, power, pleasure, sports, etc.
  • We sin against God’s love when we are indifferent to Him, spiritually lazy, ungrateful, or hateful toward Him; we sin against hope when we despair of God’s mercy and forgiveness, or when we presume upon salvation without real conversion; we sin against faith by doubting or rejecting Church teaching.
  • Dabbling in the occult is a sin – e.g., reading horoscopes, going to mediums, engaging in magic; we also sin by falling into superstition, treating our prayers or sacraments as if they were magical formulas; to avoid superstition, we must have a proper disposition of encountering God, not trying to control Him.
  • The sin of sacrilege denigrates sacred things or persons, and is especially heinous when directed against the Eucharist, the Real Presence of Christ; other forms of irreligious behavior include testing God because we question His love for us.
  • By definition, atheism is a sin because of its outright denial of God, and agnosticism, which won’t discern one way or another, similarly fails to give God His due; yet an individual’s level of culpability varies greatly according to circumstances, especially if one has been scandalized by the sins of believers.

Live Your Faith

Each one of us is personally addressed by God in the Commandments, as the Hebrew text makes clear. When God says, “You,” He is using the singular form, not the plural, underscoring the personal relationship He courts with every single one of us.

This prompts us to examine our consciences, and reflect upon how faithfully we have given love in response to the One Who has loved us so. What do I put first in my life, prioritizing above everything else? If it’s not God, it’s an idol.