Ten Rules on Resisting Satan

By Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi


Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, 66, the archbishop of Genoa, dedicated his Lenten letter to combating the fascination of a devil who is charming, shrewd and very real. Those who follow his 10-step program are promised the ability to rebuff offers of forbidden fruit, unlike Adam and Eve or dissenters.

Ten Practical Rules to Resist Satan

Rule one: "Do not forget that the devil exists."

Rule two: "Do not forget that the devil is a tempter."

Rule three: "Do not forget that the devil is very intelligent and astute."

Rule four: "Be (always) vigilant in the eyes and the heart."

Rule five: "Be strong in spirit and virtue."

Rule six:  "Tireless prayer." (do the daily offering)

Rule seven: "Adoring God."

Rule eight: "Listening to God's Words."

Rule nine: "Remembering Christ's victory over temptation. Remembering man's sharing in that victory."

Rule ten: "Be humble and love mortification."

Brief Summary of Church Teaching on the Devil

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains how satan, the devil, interferes with our lives.

#391 "Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. [Cf. Genesis 3:1-5; Wis 2:24.] Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil."[Cf. John 8:44; Revelation 12:9.] The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing." [Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.]

#392 "Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. [Cf. 2 Peter 2:4.] This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God." [Genesis 3:5.] The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies." [John 3:8; John 8:44.]

#393 "It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death." [St. John Damascene, De Fide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877.]

#394 "Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning," who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. [John 8:44; cf. Matthew 4:1-11.] "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." [1 John 3:8.] In its consequences the gravest of these works was the  mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God."

#395 "The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature - to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him." [Romans 8:28.]

#396 "God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the 311 day that you eat of it, you shall die." [Genesis 2:17] The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" [Genesis 2:17] symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom. "

Man's first sin

#397 "Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. 1850, 215 This is what man's first sin consisted of. [Cf. Genesis 3:1-11; Romans 5:19.] All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness."

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