We are hearing a lot of reference made to the “invisible enemy” that has been wreaking great havoc in the lives of people all over the world. This term refers, of course, to the COVID-19 coronavirus. It has done damage to physical health and psychological well-being for some months now. Researchers are working hard to find a vaccine to protect us against this disease, and an antidote to cure it in those who are infected.
As we enter the blessed time of Holy Week, the sacred liturgies focus our attention upon another invisible enemy, namely, Satan. The damage he seeks to create is far worse than any disease. COVID-19 attacks the body; the devil targets our soul. Unlike in the case of the virus, we know both a vaccine and a cure for the devil’s work; he has been definitively overcome by the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like a virus, that can remain in existence and communicable even when science has found remedies for it, Satan continues to prowl, seeking to worm his way into our minds to seduce us away from Christ. This means that, as we celebrate this week the definitive victory of Jesus Christ, we recognize the need to stay always vigilant against the evil one’s treachery.
This vigilance of soul requires that, first of all, we keep in mind how evil contagion spreads so that we can be inoculated against it. Since the very beginning of humanity’s sojourn on earth, Satan has operated by means of the lie. Adam and Eve were the first to hear him say that God is not to be trusted, that He is a threat to our freedom, and that we need to – and can – take control of our own lives. When our first parents chose to believe the lie rather than the promises of God, sin – separation from God – entered the world. The evil one continues to tell us the same lie. To prevent this from having damaging effects, we can best inoculate ourselves by receiving the vaccine of truth. Here we see why a regular pattern of reading Sacred Scripture is vitally important for the health of our soul. There we encounter the Truth, which by its own radiance and splendour shields us from diabolical deception.