The Devil is:
The Father of Lies
Who does not know that lying is one of the most common sins among men? Unfortunately, how easy it is for one to say or do something at variance with the truth!
In business, or in the office, in the family or in school, in the market or in the factory — how many lies, disloyalties or subterfuges! Who can count them if not God alone?
On the other hand, some are so superficial in considering a lie as a slight sin. They are not even worried about telling lies in any case whatsoever. Some would say that they are only “white lies or slight lies or useful lies to avoid evil”.
But Padre Pio said that “white lies are the ejaculations of the devil”; and to the penitent who asked him “Father, can one not tell white lies?” he answered dryly, “No.” “But Father, they don’t bring any harm!” “If they don’t bring harm to others,” added Padre Pio, “they do to your soul. God is truth!”
“The devil is a liar, the father of all lies.” (Jn. 8:44) He is the true father of our lies. It is he who offers us all the falsehoods that we spread here and there with so much ease. Poor us!
If we really consider this reality, we will understand the sensibility of the saints in opposing with all their strength, every lie, so as to have nothing to do with the “father of lies”.
The angelic boy Guido of Fontgalland, the favorite of Our Lady, showed a true horror for any slight lie.
Once, his mother told their maid, “If somebody will look for me today tell him I am out.”
When Guido heard these words of his mother he jumped up at once, turned to his mother and embracing her neck, he said, “Mother, why did you tell two lies: Yours and that of the maid? I would rather have toothaches than say something which is not true.”
Yes for Yes — No for No
It is better to suffer for the truth than benefit from a lie. It is better to have suffering with God than have pleasure with the devil.
God is the light of truth. The devil is the darkness of lies. A sincere soul radiates light. The soul of a liar is in the dark. We Christians must be “the children of light” (Jn. 12:36); Jesus told us that our words must be genuine and true. “Yes for yes, no for no!” (Mt. 5:37)
To speak deceitfully, hiding the truth is the wicked art of the “old serpent” (Apoc. 12:9) who deceived Adam and Eve in Eden (Gen. 3:17). A lie consists in this: to tell the contrary of what one thinks with the intention of deceiving.
“Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Lk. 18:20) is the commandment of God which puts us in battle against the “father of lies”. We must be strong enough to say the truth at any cost.
St. John Canzio, a Polish priest, once was robbed by bandits. They took away everything he had in his pocket and asked him, “Do you have anything else?” “Nothing”, the saint replied.
The bandits left him. But St. John Canzio soon remembered having sewn some money in his cloak. He ran after the bandits and offered them even this. The bandits were so edified that, they not only refused it, but restored everything they had taken.
The Language of Deception
Truth will often cause us even great discomforts and sorrows. But what is that compared to the offense given to God — before the justice and the punishments of God!
“Your tongue is like a sharpened razor, you practiced deceiver. You love evil rather than good: falsehood, rather than honest speech. You love all that means ruin, you of the deceitful tongue! God, Himself, shall demolish you forever.” (Ps. 51:4-7)
St. Andrew Avellino was a lawyer. Once, to defend a case, he let himself utter a slight lie. He was saddened by this weakness when he understood it by reading this verse of the Scripture: “The lying mouth slays the soul.” (Wis. 1:11)
He did not hesitate any longer. Moved by grace, he left the world, became a religious and a saint. It was the reward of the delicacy of his conscience.
Let us make the beautiful maxim of St. Vincent de Paul ours: “Our tongue must say outwardly the things that we have inside us; or else we keep quiet.”
Say the truth or keep silent.
The Listening Virgin
If all read and meditate well the page of St. James’ epistle on the evil caused by the tongue, we will surely love silence more and be more attentive in the use of our tongue which is like “a fire, a world of iniquity … it is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6-8).
Lies, falsehood, errors, calumnies, slander, offense, foul language, blasphemies … all pass through the tongue. And how often is our word unintentionally tainted with some evil?
Let us look at Our Lady instead. What a silence in Her life. Silent and radiating, as She is described in the Gospel, She is near Jesus, keeping all His words and “pondering them in Her heart” (Lk. 2:19).
Pope Paul VI is right in calling Her “the listening Virgin” (Marialis Cultus, n. 17), presenting Her as the perfect model of the Church in Her uninterrupted union with God undisturbed by “vain words” (Eph. 5:6) nor affected by “lying words” (Prov. 30:8).
What to do
Read and meditate on St. James’ epistle where he speaks about the tongue (James 3:1-12).
Kiss often the Crucifix, asking Jesus’ pardon for all the sins of the tongue.
Pray to Our Lady to help you always tell the truth or maintain silence, but never to tell lies.
The following magnificent poem by Joyce Kilmer, serves as a useful test in troubled times and especially in an age of “False Christs”.
THE MAN OF LIES
At the foot of the Cross at Calvary
Three soldiers sat and diced,
And one of them was the devil
And he won the Robe of Christ.
When the devil comes in his proper form
To the chamber where I dwell
I know him and make the sign of the Cross
Which drives him back to Hell.
I saw him through a thousand veils,
And has not this sufficed?
Now, must I look on the devil robed
In the radiant Robe of Christ?
How can I tell, who am a fool,
If this be Christ or no?
Those bleeding hands outstretched to me!
Those eyes that love me so!
I see the Robe - I look - I hope –
I fear - but there is one
Who will direct my troubled soul;
Christ’s Mother knows Her Son.
This is the man of lies She
Disguised with fearful art;
he has the wounded hands and feet
But not the wounded heart.