Sunday, October 20, 2013

Proof of the Devil: The Saints

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household Book: Come, Creator Spirit: Meditations on Veni Creator

Quotes on the Devil:

The same Spirit who led Jesus in the wilderness where he was to meet the tempter is now in us, to drive and lead us too. But the same Spirit remained with Jesus in the wilderness and gave him the power to triumph over the tempter; the Spirit is with us today, too, our constant companion, to “train hands for war and my fingers for battle.” (Ps 144:1)

Why is it that many intellectuals today, certain theologians among them, are no longer able to believe in the existence of the devil, not merely as a symbol, but as a real, personal entity? One of the reasons, I believe, is that they have looked for the devil in books, while the devil is not interested in books, but in souls. You do not meet the devil in libraries or academic institutions, but in souls, particularly in certain souls. For the most cogent proof that they will not be found in sinners or in the obsessed, but in the saints.

He manages the tactic of camouflage very well, as certain insects are able to do, blending perfectly with their background. Because of this, it is practically impossible in any particular instance to say, with certainty, what is the devil’s work and where precisely the dividing line is between that and the evil that we human beings set in train.

But in the lives of the saints the situation is quite different. There the devil is obliged to come out into the open, to stand out against the light; his activity stands out in clear contrast, black on white.

All the saints give testimony, some more, some less, to the struggle they had to wage against this obscure reality…Francis of Assisi broke with almost all the common assumptions of his day, but he did not break this one. To one of his companions he once confided, “If the brothers knew how many trials and how great are the afflictions the demons cause me, there would not be one of them who would not be moved to pity and compassion for me.”