Skip to comments.The Devil is Real ("Manual for Spiritual Warfare")
Posted on 04/07/2015 4:58:39 AM PDT by NYer
Is the devil real? Here is Msgr. Ronald Knox on that: It is stupid of modern civilization to have given up believing in the devil, when he is the only explanation of it.
Monsignor Knox, eminent British convert, author, retreat master and translator of the Bible, may have been indulging in irony. But irony doesnt change the fact that the devil and his demonic associates exist.
I came across the Knox quote in Manual for Spiritual Warfare, newly published by Tan Books and edited by Paul Thigpen. Like it or not, Thigpen begins his thoughtful introduction, You are at war. No matter who you arewhether or not you know ityou have a mortal enemy who wants to destroy you, not just in this life, but in the next. That enemy is of course the devil.
As chance would have it, a copy of the manual reached me shortly before last Christmas, when the news was all about the murder by fanatics of 150 children and teachers in a school in Pakistan. As this is being written, the world is stunned by the action of a German pilot who deliberately flew his airliner into an Alpine mountainside, killing 149 others along with himself.
Human agency obviously was operative in these events, as in other recent horrors, but its easy to glimpse a devilish hand in them tooand also in the multitude of less ostentatious but hardly less destructive acts of cruelty, dishonesty and lust that darken everyday life.
The standard response to this kind of thinking is to laugh it off. The devil has become a joke. Nothing may have done more to kill belief in Satan than all those cartoons in which demons trade one-liners amid unthreatening flames with balding gents fresh off the links of a country club.
It figures. Getting people not to believe in him is one of the devils favorite tricks. The cartoons help.
But theres too much evidence of his existence for disbelief to be a viable option. The testimony is abundant in Scripture, the magisterium, writings by and about the saints, and contemporary accounts of demonic manifestations and exorcisms.
It is a mark of the Evil Spirit to take on the appearance of an angel of light, St. Ignatius Loyola reported from experience. St. John Vianney was tormented by a demon for 35 years and gave him a nicknamegrappin, the wrestler. St. Teresa of Avila and Padre Pio, among many others, knew the devil well.
Years back a comedian got laughs by saying, The devil made me do it. The devil cant make us sin, thoughthat takes an act of human will. But the devil is ceaselessly at work offering inducementstemptations to our propensity to choose evil.
The devil exists and we must fight against him, Pope Francis says. Manual for Spiritual Warfare is a handbook for the fight. It contains magisterial and scriptural texts, testimony from saints, prayers, devotions and hymns. Bound in sober black like traditional manuals of prayer, its meant to be used.
There are two extremes to be avoided in this matterfearful obsession with the devil and ignoring the fact that we live on a battlefield, with Satan and his forces drawn up against us. The letter to the Ephesians puts it best: We are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph 6.12).
The devil is real.
From the Diary of St. Faustina
" Today, I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it, a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is conditional darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of satan, the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, then offend You by the least sin. (Diary 741). Ref
He may not be a red guy with a pitchfork, hirns, and a tail but evil exists. It is everywhere. I have noticed a phenomenom over the years with evil people. They seem to be protected from getting caught many times by “coincidences” like leaving a place where they were going to be arrested just minutes before and the like. I call it “gypsy luck”.
“What is the most important lie that Satan can impart on mankind?”
“That he doesn’t exist.”
Credit: C.S. Lewis “The Screwtape Letters”.
Gypsy luck seems to be in abundance among Democrats in Washington, DC. Lois Lerner, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, etc. have been the beneficiaries.
I think there are plenty of demons indwelling our fellow citizens. Christ cast out multitudes of them during his earthly ministry. They’re still here.
From a sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice:
Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.
Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned.
An interesting perspective.
Sister Lucy of Fatima Describes the Vision of Hell
At Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary told the three child seers that many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray or make sacrifices for them. In her Memoirs, Sister Lucy describes the vision of hell that Our Lady showed the children at Fatima:
“She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear.”
We may hate what we are seeing around us.. but God is still in control and all of this will be used for His glory
I think that dude in the picture is going to lose that bet.
Just ordered the book. Thanks for your post.
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