The Power Of Satan (4)

The Power Of Satan (4)

…continued

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.

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