The tricks of the devil

Posted by James Hahn on

Tuesday September 5th

Luke 4:31-37

At a parish mission during Lent the preacher put himself in a difficult position by telling the truth about certain Marian apparitions. He was charitable in his presentation but there were many upset parishioners waiting for him in the parish hall after the mission. The priest had warned that many apparitions, however holy they may seem, may be the work of the devil. He mentioned one very popular apparition that has not yet received Church approval. The parishioners relayed story after story of how loved ones had come back to the Church after visiting this apparition. They told the priest of how a son or daughter visited the site and then began an intense life of prayer and service. The priest responded with joy over the prodigal son or daughter but warned against devotion to an apparition in the place of true devotion to Christ and His Church.

The point of the priest was that we must trust in the Church and not simply in apparitions and that there are many who would continue to believe in the apparition even if the Church condemned it. This is a major problem. Many today may believe that they have come back to the Church through the power of an apparition. However, if they refuse to listen to the Church and her advice concerning that apparition then they are being led astray by something sinister.

In today's Gospel Jesus commands a demonic spirit to "Be silent, and come out of him (possessed man)." The spirit had just given testimony to the divinity of Jesus yet Jesus wants nothing to do with this false witness. Jesus wants those in the synagogue to believe in the power of His word not in the power of the demon's words. He wants them and me to believe because what He says is Truth, rather, because He is the Truth, not because the words spoken by the demon are mixed with truth.

The devil will try anything to snatch our souls, even imitate the Blessed Mother. We must constantly be on guard against these tricks of the devil for it is better to walk with faith through the darkness than accept a candle from the devil.

Lord Jesus, give me the grace to stay close to You and to do this by clinging to Your words given to me through the Church and through scripture. Help me to test all things against the standard of Your words and keep what is good and separate myself from that which is not. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Galatians 1:8-9

TAKE TWO
I think this Gospel passage points to the fact that the angels and demons no longer have freewill in the way that man does. The choice they have made has been made for eternity and there is no hope for the demons. I say this because the demon has no choice but to do as Jesus says. In yesterday's reading the men reject the words of Christ and try to kill Him. In today's reading the men rejoice and wonder at the power of His words. Both passages show the reaction of man in response to God, a response of freewill. Unlike the men, however, the demon cannot choose to refuse or accept the command of Jesus, it has no free will any longer, it must do what Jesus commands.

FROM THE SAINTS
- "The bread that you see on the altar is the Body of Christ as soon as it is sanctified by God's word. The chalice, or better what is contained in the chalice, is the Blood of Christ as soon as it is sanctified by God's word." - St. Augustine

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