Discerning of spirits is always a delicate matter in which we need prudence so as not to become deluded and confused. We risk deluding ourselves by ascribing all our mistakes to the devil without taking serious note of the evil we all have rooted inside us, and thus without coming against it.
And we risk confusing ourselves by attributing every kind of phenomenon to the devil and seeing him at work everywhere.
Here the word of God gives us sure criteria. St. Peter advises us to “be sober and vigilant” (1 Peter 5:8). To be “sober” means to have a healthy and realistic view of ourselves and of the world in its complexity and ambiguity, so as not to see Satan at work where only illnesses are involved. To be “vigilant” means not to let ourselves be lulled into a sense of false security by overlooking the fact that the devil still exists and that he never sleeps.
Testing the Spirits. St. John, too, exhorts us not to put faith in every inspiration, but to put inspirations to the test so that we may know whether they truly come…
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