Tag: Fr. Gabriele Amorth

The Power Of Satan (4)

The Power Of Satan (4)

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Some people marvel at the ability of demons to tempt man and even to own the body (but they can never take the soul unless man freely gives it to them) through possession and oppression. We should remember what is written in Revelation (12:7, etc.): “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him…. And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman”, who was “dressed like the sun”, from whom Jesus was born (it is very clear that we are also talking about the Most Holy Virgin Mary). When the dragon realized that his efforts had failed, “he went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.”

During a May 24, 1987, visit to the Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, 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.”

The last sentence is a clear reference to God’s condemnation of the serpent, in Genesis (3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Is Satan already in hell? When did the battle between angels and devils take place? We cannot answer these questions unless we keep in mind that hell is more a state of mind than a place. Place and time are different concepts for spirits.

Revelation tells us that demons were hurled down to earth; therefore their final damnation has yet to happen, even if it is irrevocable. This means that they still have the power that God had given them, even if only “for a brief time”. That is why they ask Jesus, “Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Mt 8:29). Christ is the only judge; he will gather to himself his Mystical Body.

This, then, is how we should interpret Paul’s statement to the Corinthians, “since we are to judge angels” (I Cor 6:3). When the “legion” of demons who possessed the man from Gerasa pleaded with Christ “not to command them to depart into the abyss” (Lk 8:31-32), they were seeking to hold on to their power. To a demon, leaving the body of a person and sinking into hell is an irrevocable death sentence; that is why the demon fights it to the last. However, his eternal pain will increase proportionately to the suffering he caused on earth. It is Saint Peter who tells us that the demons have not yet been definitively sentenced:

“When angels sinned, God did not spare them; he sent them down to the underworld and consigned them to the dark underground caves to be held there till the day of judgment” (2 Pet 2:4). The glory of the angels, too, will be increased according to their good deeds; therefore, it is very useful to invoke their help…To be continued.

Excerpts taken from the book An Exorcist tells his story By Fr. Gabriele Amorth.

The Centrality Of Christ (2)

The Centrality Of Christ (2)

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We must also mention the influence that Christ has on angels and demons. Concerning angels, some theologians believe that the angels were admitted to the beatifc vision of God by virtue of the mystery of the Cross. Many fathers also make interesting statements. For instance, Saint Athanasius writes that the angels owe their salvation to the blood of Christ. The Gospels give us many statements concerning demons, and the clearly state that Christ defeated the reign of Satan with His Cross and established the reign of God. The demons who possessed the Gerasene man exclaimed, “What is there between us, Son of God? Have you come to torment us before our time?” (Mt 8:29). This is an obvious reference to the fact that the power of Satan is gradually broken by Christ. Satan’s power, therefore, still exists and will continue to exist until our salvation is completed, “because the accuser of our brethren will be cast out” (Rev. 12:10). Additional information on the role of Mary, enemy of Satan since the original announcement of salvation, can be found in the beautiful book by Father Candido Amantini, II mistero di Maria (Naples: Dehoniane, 1971).

If we see everything in the light of the centrality of Christ, we can see God’s plan, who created everything “for him and in expectation of him”. And we can see the actions of Satan, the enemy, the tempter, the accuser. By means of his temptation, evil, pain, sin and death entered the world. It is in this context that we are able to see the restoration of God’s plan, which Christ accomplished at the cost of his blood.

In this context, we are made aware of the power of the devil. Jesus calls him “the prince of this world” (Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). John affirms that “the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (1 Jn 5:19); by “the world” John means everything that is opposed to God. Satan was the brightest of angels; he became the most evil of the devils and their chief. The demons remain bound to the same strict hierarchy that was given when they were angels: principalities, thrones, dominions, and so on (Col 1:16). However, while the angels, whose chief is Michael, are bound by a hierarchy of love, the demons live under a rule of slavery.

…to be continued.

Excerpts taken from the book, An Exorcist tells his story by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Pages 19 – 23.

The Power Of Satan (3)

The Power Of Satan (3)

Fr. Gabriele Amorth was the Chief Exorcist of Rome. He performed hundreds of exorcisms over many years. He is the author of the best-selling book, An Exorcist Tells His Story. He is also the author of An Exorcist: More Stories. This excerpt, “The Power of Satan,” is taken from An Exorcist Tells His Story (pages 25-36).

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Satan, defeated by Christ, fights against his followers. The battle against the evil spirits “was joined from the very origins of the world, and will continue until the last day, as the Lord has attested” (no. 37). During this time, every man is on battle alert because life on earth is a trial of faithfulness to God. “We strive therefore to please the Lord in all things (cf 2 Cor 5:9). We put on the armor of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and resist on the evil day…. For before we reign with the glorious Christ, all of us will be made manifest ‘before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil’ (2 Cor 5: 10)” (Lumen Gentium, no. 48).

Even if this battle against Satan concerns all men and all times, there is no doubt that Satan’s power is felt more keenly in periods of history when the sinfulness of the community is more evident. For example, when I view the decadence of the Roman Empire, I can see the moral disintegration of that period in history. Now we are at the same level of decadence, partly as a result of the misuse of the mass media (which are not evil in themselves) and partly because of Western consumerism and materialism, which have poisoned our society.

I believe that Pope Leo XIII, in a vision that will be detailed in the appendix of this chapter [pages 37-39] received a prophetic warning concerning this demonic attack on our times. How does the devil oppose God and our Savior? By claiming for himself the adoration due to God and by mimicking Christian institutions. Therefore, he is anti-Christ and anti-Church. Satan uses the idolatry of sex, which reduces the human body to an instrument of sin, against the Incarnation of the Word who redeemed man by becoming man. Satan uses his churches, his cult, his devotees (often consecrated through a pact of blood), his adorers, the followers of his promises, to mimic the worship due to God. just as Christ gave his apostles and their followers specific powers for the good of body and soul, so Satan gives specific powers to his followers for the destruction of body and soul. We will examine these specific powers in our explanation of witchcraft.

I will mention one more item on this subject. Just as it would be wrong to deny the existence of Satan, it is also wrong to accept the prevalent opinion that there are spiritual beings that are not mentioned in the Bible. These are the invention of spiritists, of followers of the occult, of those who espouse reincarnation, or of those who believe in “wandering souls”. There are no good spirits other than angels; there are no evil spirits other than demons. Two Councils of the Church (Lyons and Florence) tell us that the souls of those who die go immediately to heaven or to hell or to purgatory. The souls of the dead who are present during seances or the souls of the dead who are present in living bodies to torture them are none other than demons. God allows a soul to return to earth only in very rare, exceptional cases, but we recognize that this subject is still full of unknowns. Father La Grua attempts to explain some of his own experiences with souls who are possessed by the devil, but I must reiterate that this is a matter that requires further research, and I will address it in a different book…to be continued.

The Centrality Of Christ (1).

The Centrality Of Christ (1).

The devil is one of Gods creatures. We cannot talk about him and about exorcisms without first stating some basic facts about Gods plan for creation. We will not say anything new, but we might present a new perspective.

All too often we have the wrong concept of Creation, and we take for granted the following wrong sequence of events. We believe that one day God created the angels; that he put them to the test, although we are not sure which test; and that as a result we have the division among angels and demons. The angels were rewarded with heaven, and the demons were punished with hell. Then we believe that on another day God created the universe, the minerals, the plants, the animals, and, in the end, man. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve obeyed Satan and disobeyed God; thus they sinned. At this point, to save mankind, God decided to send his Son.

This is not what the Bible teaches us, and it is not the teaching of the Fathers. If this were so, the angels and creation would remain strangers to the mystery of Christ. If we read the prologue to the Gospel of John And the two christological hymns that open the Letters to the Ephesians and the Colossians, we see that Christ is “the firstborn of all creatures” (Col 1:15). Everything was created for him and in the expectation of him. There is no theological discussion that makes any sense if it asks whether Christ would have been born without the sin of Adam. Christ is the center of creation ; all creatures, both heavenly (the angels) and earthly (men) find in him their summation. On the other hand, we can affirm that, given the sin of our forebears, Christ’s coming assumed a particular role: he came as Saviour. The core of his action is contained within the Paschal Mystery: through the blood of his Cross, he reconciles all things in the heaven (angels) and on earth (men) to God. The role of every creature is dependent on this christocentric understanding.

We cannot omit a reflection about the Virgin Mary. If the firstborn creature is the Word become flesh, she who would be the means of the Incarnation must also have been present in the divine thought before every other creature. From this stems Mary’s unique relationship with the Holy Trinity.

…to be continued.

Excerpts taken from the book An Exorcists Tells His Story By Fr. Gabriele Amorth.

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