In a lecture today on the spiritual life, the lecturer said, “The Enemy tries to focus us on what is coming, on imagined fears, in a manner that robs us of the enjoyment of the present moment that God wishes to give us.”
St. Teresa of Avila often warned her religious sisters that the Devil would try to dissuade them from prayer or fasting by inciting in their imaginations countless worries and concerns — especially fear of illness. As God is only able to encounter us and do good for us in the present moment, Teresa argued, if the Enemy ably succeeds in uprooting us from the reception of the present, he succeeds in severing us from the very source of our strength and peace.
Satan’s antiphon is, “There’s plenty of time to pray; later; not yet; too much to do; tomorrow is full of fearful uncertainty; don’t pray, worry.” God’s antiphon, on the other hand, is, “Now is the day of salvation, now is the appointed time; do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself; cast all your cares on God; you need only to be still.”
In this light, we can re-appreciate the power and beauty of St. Teresa’s well-loved prayer:
Let nothing distress you;
While all things fade away,
God is unchanging.
Patience overcomes everything.
The one who has God,
Nothing is lacking.
God alone suffices.