This Week’s Ask Alice: Life can be tough, but we Catholics have lots of help.

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Heather writes: When you choose to follow Jesus with all of your being life will not get easier for you, but in some cases harder. The reason I say this is because Satan does not like it when you follow Jesus. Satan never liked us humans to begin with.

Alice responds: Your insights are correct. As we grow closer to God, Satan tosses some hand grenades into our path that challenge us to detour from the path of righteousness. Please realize that Satan has been practicing his vicious, malicious tactics on good men and women for centuries.

Consider the righteous Jacob. As a young man, Satan successfully tempted Jacob to snatch his older brother, Esau’s, birthright, with help from the twins’ mother, Rebekah. Although he succumbed to Satan’s snare, God still loved Jacob. Twenty years later, Jacob stayed up all night wrestling with an angel, who struck Jacob’s hip socket. (Genesis 32: 24-26)

Why does our Heavenly Father allow his good children to struggle with spirits? In a recent homily, Fr. Jerome Kish, Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Downers Grove, IL explained, “Why did Jacob wrestle with an angel? Aren’t angels supposed to help people? The angelic wrestling match was a grace from God, so Jacob could grow in faith. All of us struggle with spirits and demons during our lives. God allows us to struggle, so we can grow strong spiritually.”

St. Paul was another good man who was no stranger to struggles with Satan.

“As to the extraordinary revelation in order that I might not become conceited I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and keep me from getting proud. Three times I begged the Lord that this might leave me. He said to me,

‘My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection’……….Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ: for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.”
(2 Corinthians12:7-9,10)

The downside of drawing closer to God is that our spiritual growth enrages Satan to increasingly taunt and tempt us as he sees his influence waning. But we must remember that the battle for our salvation already has been won by Jesus’ death on the cross.

We will win every wrestling match with Satan by looking up and remaining focused on God. To insure our victory over evil, we have our Mother Mary accompanied by scores of angels and saints in the Body of Christ who stand ready to respond to our every call for Heavenly help.

In Christ’s love,


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