Snares of the Evil Spirit
As soon as Anne Catherine had become sufficiently strong to resist the open attacks of Satan, Almighty God allowed her to be tormented by him. But the evil one tried in vain to draw her from the path of perfection along which she was walking so courageously.
She despised his cunning, his malice, and his power. The more humble she became, the more difficult was it for her to comprehend how he could intimidate a soul. His first attacks were directed against her life. She tells us herself: —
"When a child my life was repeatedly in danger, but by the help of God I was always saved. I knew very well that these perils were not accidental ; I knew they came from the evil spirit.
They generally happened when I was not thinking of the presence of God, or when I had negligently committed some fault. I never could attribute them to chance.
God always protects us if we do not wander from Him- His angel is ever at our side, but we must render ourselves worthy of His care.
Like grateful children, we ought never to leave Him. We ought constantly to beg His assistance, for our enemy lies in wait to destroy us.
When I was only a few years old, my parents went out one day and left me at home alone, my mother charging me to stay in and mind the house. Presently an old woman came in who, for some reason or other, wanted to get rid of me for a while.
'Run',she said ; 'run get some pears off my tree !
Run fast before your mother comes back!'I yielded to the temptation, forgot my mother's orders, and ran to the old woman's garden in such haste that I stumbled over a plough half-hidden in the hay and, striking my breast violently against it, I fell unconscious to the ground.
My mother found me in this state, and brought me to by a smart correction. I felt the effects of this accident a long time.
Later I was shown that the devil had made use of the old woman to tempt me to disobedience through gluttony and that, by yielding to the temptation, I had endangered my life.
This gave me horror for the latter vice, and I saw how necessary it is for man to deny himself."
When Anne Catherine began her nocturnal vigils, the attacks of the evil spirit became bolder and more frequent.
He tried to frighten her from her prayers by terrible noises and apparitions, even by blows.
She often felt icy-cold hands grasping her by the feet, casting her to the ground, or lifting her high in the air but, though terror-stricken, the child never lost countenance.
She continued her prayer with redoubled fervor till Satan was forced to withdraw.
She even returned to the place in which she had been maltreated, saying:"Miserable wretch!thou shalt not chase me away.
Thou hast no power over me! thou shall not hinder my prayer ! "
These attacks were renewed whenever she prayed for the souls in purgatory or performed penances.
每当她为炼狱中的灵魂祈祷，或做赎罪善功时，这些攻击就会重新出现。（注：penance：补赎；赎罪善功：对违反教会戒律者，所规定之处分，包括祈祷、克己苦行或善行。又称 works of penance 。）
But as she was always instructed how to resist the enemy, and the beloved souls were often visible thanking her for the relief she gave them, they served but to animate her courage and nerve her to fresh exertions.
Sometimes she went at night to pray before a rustic Crucifix which stood toward the middle of the hamlet.
The road was crossed by a narrow by-path upon which there often stood facing her a horrible beast like a dog with an enormously large head.
At first she used to shrink back some steps in horror ; but quickly summoning courage, she would say to herself: " Why flee before the enemy?"
Then with the sign of the cross, she would boldly push by the monster.
But she trembled violently, her hair stood on end, and she flew rather than walked over the road that led to the crucifix, the brute running along by her side, sometimes even brushing up against her.
However, she speedily surmounted her fear, and walked on bravely by her enemy who, unable to endure his own discomfiture, soon took to flight.
As the devil could not force her by apparitions to desist from penance, he instigated a wretch to attack her near the crucifix ; but, aided by her angel, she courageously defended herself and forced him to retire. Owing to the angels protection, she was delivered from innumerable dangers.
Once the evil spirit tried to hurl her down a ladder ; again he pushed her into a deep ditch, plunging her repeatedly to the bottom in order to drown her. But her angel drew her out and placed her on the brink safe and sound.
These attacks have a deep signification which may not, perhaps, be understood at first. We discover in them not only the rage and malice of hell aiming at the destruction of God's chosen instrument, but also an essential part of the mission assigned her.
This was, indeed, to draw upon herself heirs fury, to expose herself to its assaults, thus to avert them from certain other souls whose sins rendered them powerless to resist.
She took the place of those who had incurred chastisement ; she suffered for those who exposed themselves to the danger of being lost ; and she paid off their debt by her own combats.
As she took upon herself the corporal maladies of her neighbor in order to deliver him from them, so also did she bear for him the attacks of the demon, sustain the struggle in his stead, and gain for him the victory.
She not only took the place of the members of the Church, but she also guarded the treasures that had been confided to her pastors, and which were now exposed to the fury of hell.
Her painful exercises, her vigils, etc., were not dependent on her own will;they were all regulated by her angel, by instructions received in vision.
Her own choice does not move her to make the long Way of the Cross at night, or to pray in the open fields — all forms part of the task marked out for her.
她自己的选择并不能使她在夜间走拜漫长的十字架苦路，或在旷野祈祷；所有这些都是为她指定的任务的一部分。（注：Way of the Cross ：十字苦路；十字架的道路；十四处苦路；苦路经：纪念耶稣受难途中所历经之十四项事迹。拜苦路经为天主教隆重祈祷之一，源于第十五世纪，由方济会大力推广。）
Its accomplishment demands that she should traverse the lonely road that led to the centre of the hamlet to expiate the negligence of a slothful pastor who sleeps whilst the wolf breaks into the sheepfold ; she must struggle with the rapacious animal and prevent his devouring the flock.
Is she dashed from a ladder, or thrown into a ditch ? — it is for a soul in mortal sin whom she snatches from the demon at the moment in which he thinks himself sure of his prey.
If frightful visions and phantoms fill her soul with horror, they are the terrors from which she delivers the dying, that they may prepare in peace for the hour of death.
These attacks of Satan were redoubled whenever her prayers confounded the efforts of his malice, or disconcerted his plans.
"Once," she said, " I was going to church in the dark when a great dog passed me. I stretched out my hand, and received so violent a blow in the face that I staggered.
My face and hand swelled up in church and both were covered with blisters. When I reached home I was un- recognizable. I was cured by bathing with baptismal water.
On the road to the church was a hedge over which I had to climb. When I came to it early on St. Francis's day, I felt a great black figure pulling me back.
I struggled and succeeded in crossing. I was not frightened. He, the demon, used to station himself in the middle of the road to force me to turn aside, but he never succeeded."
The devil now sought to perplex her by more artful and subtle attacks. The mortification of her early years which had acquired for her such strength to resist, was hateful to him.
He tried to tempt her to some little self-indulgence, but she only redoubled her austerities as soon as she discovered the artifice.
Then, taking the opposite course, he urged her to carry her penances to excess ; but she with the advice of her director immediately moderated them.
It will be seen further on that although Satan never desisted from tormenting Anne Catherine in every conceivable way, yet he could never excite in her the slightest movement opposed to perfect purity.
He dared not present this temptation to a soul endowed with the gift of prophecy and confided to the visible guardianship of her angel.
Hers was, indeed, to be a way of sorrows, but no stings of concupiscence were to spring up in her path. He did, it is true, sometimes place impure objects before her imagination, but never could he lead her to cast a glance upon them.
He did, indeed, instigate his wicked slaves to attempt violence against the young virgin ; but, with the courage of a lioness, she struck the wretches to the ground. " My Lord and my God does not abandon me !" she said.
"He is stronger than the enemy !" This confidence in divine protection was her buckler, the shield that warded off every attack.