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Do you have crows in your life?

We recall driving recently and being distracted by a crow that bounded on the street, and then another that bounced in a strange manner -- in a similar attention-getting fashion -- just across the way, as if to steal our attention.

The temptation, of course, was to switch the eyes to them and off the road and paying too much notice to those birds could have caused an accident. Easily. There was two-way traffic. We were also approaching a crossroads.

Call this a "law of the crows": The devil often tries to divert our focus for a crucial moment and often does so as we approach a threshold or intersection.

A threshold of holiness. A threshold of advancement.

Often he works to trip us up not by way of a frontal attack (which is what we always expect) but in the way of a side show. It can be a squirrel. It can be another car. In life, it is usually something that is none of our business.

He comes at the periphery. He is barely in view. He seeks to simply sway your glance long enough to cause mayhem (and a wrong decision).

We see evil when it causes us anxiety or depression or anger or even rage -- when it divides us, when it slanders, when it leads to sin, when we regress spiritually. Those are times we can discern its direct effects. But just as often the devil attacks through distraction. It especially happens near those crossroads.

He is the great deceiver, and a ploy of a deceiver is misdirection (ask any magician).

Evil is where evil lies and so we watch at the periphery of the road for what is peculiar, what's artificial, what is too spectacular. It is where you find falsehood. It has a sales pitch. It is diversionary. The devil is a liar and he lies in wait (like the snake that he is).

Don't always expect him to come in an obvious manner. 

Watch for his suddenness.

How many times has the devil diverted you? How many times has he made you pay attention to something trivial when there were more important matters? How much time has he caused you to waste? How many times in your life have you missed opportunities or failed to note a problem because you were paying attention to something else -- because you were distracted? The cock crows thrice and so does the crow.

We all have intersections in life -- more than we realize -- and we approach them in the right fashion only when we have clear vision and are looking (through prayer) straight ahead, when we don't take our eyes off the ball (or the road).

Now, there are times that God blocks us. There are times we are headed the wrong way and He tries to nudge us in the right direction. This we must discern.

But it can also be the evil one and of course he does not only use crows. He sends people to block us, to put up a stop sign, to place a red light where we are not meant to stop or turn. The attacks often come from those who are familiar and thus we least expect. Look at when Peter tried to divert Jesus!

Too often, we let others make the decisions for us. This also is a problem at intersections! This too the devil sends. Look straight ahead and always turn back to your direct path when something crops up on the side of you. Let Jesus be your guide, always. When it happened to Him, He said, "Get thee hence!"

Approach every day with the Rosary and the devil will lose this device. In prayer you will spot the diversions. Look for the Light in prayer (important first thing in the morning) and remember that His Light does not divert because light does not bend.

[resources: Spiritual warfare books and Michael H. Brown retreat, Minnesota]

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