Pope Francis on the reality of spiritual battle, the devil

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(Vatican Radio) Christians must always guard against the deceit of the devil, said Pope Francis at Friday’s morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. The Pope underlined that Christians cannot follow the victory of Jesus over evil “halfway”, nor confuse or relativize truth in the battle against the devil.

Jesus casts out demons, and then someone offers explanations “to diminish the power of the Lord,” he said. The Pope focused his homily on the day’s Gospel and immediately underlined that there is always the temptation to want to diminish the figure of Jesus, as if he were “a healer at most” and so as not to take him “so seriously”. It is an attitude, he observed, that has “reached our present day”.

“There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness’. They do not read this, no? It is true that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter, as if to say: ‘All of these (people) were not possessed; they were mentally ill’. No! The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil.”

For this reason, he warned, “we should not be naïve”. The Pope observed that the Lord gave us certain criteria to “discern” the presence of evil and to follow “the Christian way when there are temptations”. One of the criteria is “not to follow the victory of Jesus” only “halfway”.

“Either you are with me, says the Lord, or you are against me,” the Pope said. Jesus, he added, came to destroy the devil, “to give us the freedom” from “the enslavement the devil has over us”. And, he cautioned, this is not “exaggerating”.

“On this point,” he said, “there are no nuances. There is a battle and a battle where salvation is at play, eternal salvation; eternal salvation” of us all.

There is criteria for watchfulness. “We must always be on guard,” exhorted the Pope, “on guard against deceit, against the seduction of evil”.

“And we can ask ourselves the question: Do I guard myself, my heart, my feelings, my thoughts? Do I guard the treasure of grace? Do I guard the presence of the Holy Spirit in me? Or do I let go, feeling secure, believing that all is going well? But if you do not guard yourself, he who is stronger than you will come. But if someone stronger comes and overcomes, he takes away the weapons in which one trusted, and he shall divide the spoil. Vigilance! Three criteria! Do not confuse the truth. Jesus fights the devil: first criterion. Second criterion: he who is not with Jesus is against Jesus. There are no attitudes in the middle. Third criterion: vigilance over our hearts because the devil is astute. He is never cast out forever. It will only be so on the last day.”

When the impure spirit leaves man, the Pope pointed out, “it wanders in deserted places, and seeking rest and finding none, says: ‘I will return to my house, from which I left’.”

And when he finds it “swept clean and adorned”, then he goes, “takes another seven spirits worse than he, who come and make their homes”. And, this way, “the last state of man becomes worse than the first”.

“Vigilance,” he said, “because his strategy is this: ‘You became Christian. Advance in your faith. I will leave you. I will leave you tranquil. But then when you are used to not being so watchful and you feel secure, I will come back’. The Gospel today begins with the devil being cast out and ends with the devil coming back! St. Peter would say: ‘It is like a fierce lion that circles us’. It is like that. ‘But, Father, you a little ancient. You are frightening us with these things…’ No, not me! It is the Gospel! And these are not lies: it is the Word of the Lord!

“Let us ask the Lord for the grace to take these things seriously. He came to fight for our salvation. He won against the devil! Please, let us not do business with the devil! He seeks to return home, to take possession of us… Do not relativize; be vigilant! And always with Jesus!”

Just one more reason for me to love how the Holy Father is teaching us!:slight_smile:

Strong, frightening words, but true! And words I needed to hear.

This is a very strong, holy, man of God. :thumbsup:

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober and vigilant; because your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is roaming around seeking whom he might devour. Strong in faith, resist him knowing that the same affliction befalls your brethren who are in the world.

I read this everyday to remind me of his existence.

The temptations that are with us daily and the condition of the world around us are more than enough to remind me of his existence everyday.

Having just recently lost my wife of 50 years, I understand what the pope is saying, only too well. My wife, and I, cradle Catholic, had retired, and gotten lax, and the devil closed in. We quit going to Mass, and Communion.
She got sick, and went into the hospital. I got scared. I managed, through the grace of the Blessed Mother, to make sure my wife received the sacraments, which the Blessed Mother promised when we made the First Saturdays, way back in grade school.
But, when, I recovered my wife’s soul, just before she died, the devil turned on me, and pretty much took over.
I, being a member of the America Needs Fatima group, received some beautiful photos of the Sacred Heart, and the Lady of Fatima. I framed the photos, mounted a crucifix, and brought home some candles from church. I set up my own alter, and had it blessed. And, there is where the changes began to take place. My worst sin, porn, along with self satisfaction, suddenly stopped. I mean, dead in their tracks. With constant praying of the rosary, and begging Jesus to clear my mind of all the negatives the devil was trying to bury in me, trying to tear my love for my wife away by bringing up things I had never known about, but “discovered” while clearing paperwork, The fight was on. I haven’t completely won yet, but I’ve about cleared out the negatives, and am now constantly praying the rosary, and have been introduced to a “healing service” some 50 miles away every Tuesday.
I have only one goal, to learn to love Jesus, and his mother, as I should, and to be ready when I die to go straight to heaven, to be with my wife, and Christ. :slight_smile:

It sounds like you opened your eyes and saw Satan. This happened to me way back in 1990, when I saw Satan at the gates of hell; I saw Satan before I saw God. I was an atheist back then but I quickly began to read the bible and I returned to the Catholic Church in 1993. Having made that journey on my own, I now have an unshakable faith. Keep looking up to heaven!

It is simply astounding just how much help is available, if we but only ask. My pastor told me one day, “Tom, every picture, or statue of Christ you will see, He will have His hands outstretched. But, you have to reach back.” Jesus only wants those who want Him, too.
Some days, like today, it gets almost unbearable. The lonliness. The feeling of being totally alone, in a house you shared with your only love for 45 years. But, as I read, almost daily, just ask Christ to lift the mantle of depression, and despair, and He will guide you back into the light of His way. To be ready for Heaven, we have to divorce ourselves of this world. And, nobody said that would be easy.

Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your wife.

You have suffered loss but regained your soul. Thank you for your very inspirational testimony. Spiritual warfare and the devil are real.

Thank you,
Ed

Christian Faith and Demonology, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Don’t be naive, the devil exists, Pope tells congregation

CWN - October 11, 2013

Pope Francis stated emphatically that the Devil’s existence is a reality, in his homily at a daily Mass on October 11.

The Pope observed that some priests, when they preach about Gospel accounts of Jesus driving out demons, say that the stories refer to mental illness. It is true that sometimes mental illness can mimic demonic possession, the Pope conceded. “But it is also true that there was the devil!”

“We should not be naïve,” the Pope continued. The devil is a reality, and refusing to recognize the struggle between Jesus and the devil is a way of only “halfway” accepting the salvific role of Jesus Christ. The Lord came to end “the enslavement the devil has over us,” the Pope said. He reminded his congregation of Christ’s words from the day’s Gospel: “Either you are with me or you are against me.”

Pope Francis urged the faithful to guard against the devil, relying on the Holy Spirit and remaining vigilant against temptations.

Source

“The more one understands the holiness of God, the more one understands the opposite of what is holy, namely, the deceptive masks of the devil. Jesus Christ himself is the greatest example of this: before him, the Holy One, Satan could not keep hidden and was constantly compelled to show himself. So one might say that the disappearance of the awareness of the demonic indicates a related decline in holiness. The devil can take refuge in his favorite element, anonymity, if he is not exposed by the radiance of the person united to Christ.” - The Ratzinger Report, page 148

Inspirational indeed.

:knight1::knight1::knight1:

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