Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Does the Devil Exist?

Fr. Nicolas Schwizer

Duccio: The Temptation on the Mountain

In the Gospel, we often hear of Jesus expelling demons. Perhaps this fact seems somewhat strange to us because being possessed by a demon seems to us as something exclusive to those times. However, it also happens today even though it may be less frequent.

But the ultimate question for mankind today is…..does the devil exist as a person or not? As it is, modern man and inclusively the modern Christian man hardly even believes in the devil. The devil has been able to succeed today with his best maneuver: to put his existence in doubt.

Therefore, we want to now reflect for a moment on the devil and his activity in the world and in our own life.

The inhabitants of hell seek to counterattack the power and the dominion of God. And because they cannot confront God directly, they do it indirectly. They try to take from Him his favorite creation on earth: man.

Thus, each one of us is a battlefield where the good and the bad confront each other…..the divine forces and the diabolic forces.

Who would deny such a reality? None of us would be so naïve to believe that we would be free from that permanent struggle. Each one of us experiences this tension, this conflict in his/her own body and in his/her own soul. We become aware that a strong being works in us and wants to impose his will on us and we need another stronger being to liberate us.

We were liberated already on the day of our baptism. But the devil returned to us and we allowed him to enter anew by means of our sins.

The great work of the devil is sin. He is the “father of sin.” He is the reality of evil – which leads men to kill, steal, and deceive; he makes the unjust triumph and the just to suffer.

He makes those who have plenty become egotists and leads the marginalized to despair – this and a lot more is his work and it is very present and real in our world.

Truthfully, man does not live his destiny alone. He is incapable of being absolutely independent. He either surrenders to God or is enslaved by the devil. Whether in the good or the bad, it is not we who live: it is Christ or Satan who lives and triumphs in us. We are either children of God or children of the devil!

Jesus Christ clashes from the beginning of his mission with this power of evil which is incredibly active and extended throughout the world. Jesus discovers it everywhere. He expels it and dethrones it. We should also see the texts of the Gospel in this context. The one possessed by the devil is not the one at the center of the texts, it is Christ himself. Our gaze should be fixed on Him.

We ourselves will not be able to free ourselves from the power of the devil. We will not be able to conquer the evil in ourselves by our own strength. It is necessary that Christ strengthens us in our daily battle against the enemy. It is necessary that Christ frees us, step by step, from his destructive power. Also Mary, the Victress over the devil, will help us with this.

As Christ dealt in the Gospel with the possessed, in like manner, He wants to expel injustice, lies, hatred and all the evil on this earth. In us and through us, He wants to create a better world….. renew the face of the earth. He wants to build a Nation of God where truth, justice and love rule.

Dear brothers and sisters, someday we will also be free, totally free from the influence of the evil one. It will be on the happy day of our final encounter with God when we return to the House of the Father.

Questions for reflection

1. Do I really believe in the activity of the Devil?

2. Am I aware of the battle that takes place within me?

3. Do I know my weak point where the Devil attacks me most?