In His Clutches
Teresa of Avila mentions in her dramatic autobiography that her prayers were continuously interrupted by the Devil and her serious thought was replaced by nonsense. (Me too) She also endowed Satan with bad temper and false humility. At one point Satan visited her, and Teresa described him vividly:
“A great flame seemed to issue from his body, which was intensely bright and cast no shadow. He said to me in a dreadful voice that I had indeed escaped his clutches, but that he would capture me still.”
Seems to me that there ain’t no one more in the Devil’s clutches than someone convinced that she has escaped!
I have difficulty picturing the ten spies admitting, while sinning, that they made their disheartening proclamations about the Land of Israel because they were in the clutches of the Devil. Perhaps if Teresa’s description of a great flame and dreadful voice was accurate, they would have had more of a chance to escape his clutches.
No, my personal devil, whom I have named Rembrandt (different story), does not appear with flames, nor speak in a dreadful voice. He usually presents himself as quite a reasonable, handsome, friendly, and non-threatening fellow. I don’t know how he does it, but even when I have lost my temper and know that I’m not in total control, I will hear him say, “You have escaped my clutches! Ha!”
It’s not the Teresa’s fiery Devil that scares me. It’s the calm, oleaginous, supportive devil who terrifies me! As long as we picture the Devil, or Satan, as did Teresa, we will never learn how to protect ourselves.
I see the key to dealing with the suave devil in Tzitzit…
To Be Continued
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