Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily - 6/30/09

Matthew 8:28-34

28 When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.

29 They cried out, "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?"

30 Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.

31 The demons pleaded with him, "If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine."

32 And he said to them, "Go then!" They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned.

33 The swineherds ran away, and when they came to the town they reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs.

34 Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

So ... do you believe this reading? Do you believe that demons influence people, and can even inhabit them? If your answer is yes, you're in the minority. There's a great line in a movie called "The Usual Suspects" -- "The greatest trick the Devil ever played is convincing the world he doesn't exist." That's exactly what is going on in today's world.

In 1972, Pope Paul VI had this to say about him: "What are the Church's greatest needs at the present time? Don't be surprised at Our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: one of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil."

Link: Pope Paul VI - Confronting the Devil's Power -- READ THIS!

Fifteen years later, his successor Pope John Paul II said: "The battle against the devil, which is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel, is still being fought today, because the devil is still alive and active in the world. The evil that surrounds us today, the disorders that plague our society, man's inconsistency and brokenness, are not only the results of original sin, but also the result of Satan's pervasive and dark action."

Link: John Paul II On The Devil

According to Christ, the Apostles, and the Church, the Devil is real, and he and his minions get involved in our lives on a regular basis. What can we do about it? The first step is to be aware that we are engaged in the battle. In the 1972 letter (link above), Paul VI addresses this point:

What defense, what remedy should we use against the Devil's action?--even though it remains difficult to put into practice. We could say: everything that defends us from sin strengthens us by that very fact against the invisible enemy. Grace is the decisive defense. Innocence takes on the aspect of strength. Everyone recalls how often the apostolic method of teaching used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable. The Christian must be a militant; he must be vigilant and strong; and he must at times make use of special ascetical practices to escape from certain diabolical attacks. Jesus teaches us this by pointing to "prayer and fasting" as the remedy. And the Apostle suggests the main line we should follow: "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. "

With an awareness, therefore, of the opposition that individual souls, the Church and the world must face at the present time, we will try to give both meaning and, effectiveness to the familiar invocation in our principal prayer: "Our Father . . . deliver us from evil!"