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Catholic Activity: How the Devil Tempts Us



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As told by the Devil to St. Dominic on how the devil tempts us.


Children are always interested in the devil, as indeed we all should be, but often the effect of tales about how he tried the saints is to imply he is not interested in such ordinary souls as we. This is one of his best tricks, of course, for he is interested in all souls and nothing pleases him quite so much as to discover they think he is not. This leaves him quite free to trip them up by the simplest devices.

Once St. Dominic was making the rounds of the convent "like a watchful sentinel," when he met the devil prowling about like a beast of prey. Commanding him to be still, the saint asked him, "Why are you prowling about in this fashion?" The devil answered that it was to great profit that he prowled so. And what profit did he gain, asked St. Dominic, in the dormitory (in our case, the bedroom)? "Oh, I keep them from enjoying their rest," said the devil, "and tempt them not to get up in time for their prayers. And if this does not work, I frighten them with terrible dreams." They walked along to the choir, the place where the monks said their prayers together (in our case, wherever the family says its prayers together). "And what do you gain here?" asked St. Dominic. "Oh, much! I make them come late for prayers and leave before they are done and I busy their minds with distractions so they cannot meditate." Then St. Dominic led him to the refectory (or in our case the dining room and wherever else we eat our meals) and, asking the devil what he did there, the saint got his reply: "Who is there who does not eat more than he should and make a glutton of himself, or less than he should and commit disobedience?" Then taking the devil to the parlor (or wherever we would take our recreation) the saint was about to ask the devil what he gained there when the devil chucked in high glee. "Oh-ho-ho! This is truly my spot! This is the place for improper laughter and dangerous and foolish pastimes and idle gossip!" But when they came to the chapter house (which in our lives would be wherever we examine our consciences and make our confessions) he shrieked and tried to make off. "I loathe this spot!" he screeched, "for I lose here whatever I may have gained elsewhere, since here they are told of their faults, correct one another in charity, do penance, and are absolved of their sins."

So — he is always about! It is good to know so we can be on guard.

Activity Source: Saints and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York; reprinted by TAN Publishers, 1958