Temptations Go On
By Amanda Hudson
“There are souls who thwart My efforts, but I have not given up on them ...”
So said Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska, quoted in Susan Tassone’s latest book, “Jesus Speaks to Faustina and You,” published by Sophia Press.
Tassone’s short quotes and reflections for each day of the year frequently speak of Jesus’ amazing, never-ending mercy. Needless to say, it’s a great thing to remind ourselves each day during and beyond this pandemic about Jesus’ love for us.
We really have been dealt a spiritual blow with the virus and its fallout. Our usual and traditional prayer habits and the sacraments we have long depended upon to keep going ... most of that was upended some weeks ago. We should not expect that by now we’ll have a new faith life in place and be all put together in prayer. We have been spun around and turned upside down. It has been disorienting.
Whether we have fears of the virus or are frustrated with the many restrictions in place, it helps to periodically look beyond our struggling world, up to God and His Kingdom. That’s where we ultimately belong, although none of us is perfect in our approach to that heavenly future. So we hope in His mercy.
As quoted above, Jesus does not give up on us — although we are free to use our free will to see ourselves as beyond hope. Prayer can help with that evil lie. But stress from the pandemic’s disruptions might have us shutting down to some extent, including in the area of prayer.
During and after this time of upheaval, two things are certain: 
First, especially if we ask for insight we will find evidence of God’s great mercy in how He is using these times to minister to us individually. Each of our lives is different from that of every other person. God takes our circumstances and experiences and uses it all to encourage us to turn to Him.
Second, we can trust that evil is also at work to tempt us to the many possible empty and harmful emotions, practices and approaches to life, to faith and to God Himself.
As in all of life, our task is to figure out if our ruminations are coming from ourselves, the devil or from God — and then to act only on those that come from God, to the best of our ability and with His help.
Hopefully, we’ve been doing some of that, devoting our pandemic time to healthy, holy and uplifting pursuits. But even if we’ve just been laying around, eating junk food and watching less-than-inspiring media, we will have another chance tomorrow to fight again for the good of God.
As now, so also in the next weeks, God’s mercy and help (and the devil’s temptations) will continue as society begins to shift back toward what our “normal” used to be.
“Toward” is probably accurate, because things will never be exactly the same. This coronavirus experience has changed us. We may have a new way of looking at our homes, our families, our workplaces, our recreations ... and we can choose to act or not on those new perspectives — keeping whatever God would have us do in mind. 
Maybe some of us are rethinking our lives in deep ways, perhaps to the point of making new, personal resolutions for when society changes back. If so, we can ask our Lord to guide that process.
Whether or not we are pondering big things, and especially if we have lost someone we love to the virus or other cause, we could be smart to adopt the usual recommendation of waiting a while (two years is the suggested length of time after a severe loss) before making any big, life-altering changes once we get back to “normal.”
God’s always-active mercy will give us new opportunities to grow in faith within the choices we make. so let us resolve to renew our best faith practices, add new-and-holy ones, and reject any empty pursuits.
Jesus believes in us. Let’s follow His lead going forward.