In today’s first reading, James points out quite helpfully the common human tendency to think of temptations and hardships in our life as being sent from God. This is where Discernment of Spirits and the naming of the “evil spirit” are particularly helpful. Since James’ time we’ve come to recognize the “evil spirit” isn’t just the devil, but rather includes psychological baggage, emotional weakness, trauma from past experiences, and really anything we let pull us away from God’s plan and from faith, hope, and love.

Thank God there’s a counter pull! James points out that “every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above” from the “Father of lights.” Not only does good come from above, but he also willed to “give us birth by the word of truth.” When we add the gift of the Holy Spirit, remember with 3 against 1 odds, there’s no reason to lose hope!

—Br. Mark Mackey, SJ, is a Jesuit Brother of the Midwest Province in First Studies at Loyola University Chicago.





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