I do not talk much about the devil. Perhaps its because I think that people do not want to hear about it, – writes Bishop Peter in The Church and Life.
Some think that the devil does not exist. Others would say that he is a symbol, an idea, or just another word for evil.
Pope Francis tells us that the devil is real. He is talked about in the very first pages of scripture. The Bible tells us that there was a heavenly struggle against evil and God conquered the devil.
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We do not confuse and attribute the problems created by the devil to mere psychological disorders. Jesus in teaching us the Lord’s prayer, asks us to pray for deliverance from the evil one. Pope Francis says that the prayer, “Our Father”, means that a “personal being” attacks us. Jesus is telling us to pray daily for deliverance from him. The evil one can overcome us if we are not careful.
The Pope further warns us that the devil can poison us with “hatred, desolation, envy and vice.” He can “destroy our families and communities.” Our Catechism, “Christ Our Pascha”, quotes John 8:44 saying, “The devil was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand for the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
The devil has no power over us. It is a constant struggle, but God is far more powerful than the devil and we have no need to fear!
Our Catechism also describes the devil as a “consequence of pride, self- assertion in opposition to God and in the desire to become His equal.” It goes further and speaks of the devil’s ability “to twist word of God’s commandment.”
The devil is very good at saying that God deceives mankind and constantly undercuts their freedom. As he did to Adam and Eve, he lies to us by telling us that we do not need God because we are already equal to God.
We normally call the devil’s and our disobedience, “sin”. While we try hard to convince ourselves that we are not sinful, or that we have no evil in us. The fact is that we do sin, and that the power of sin, ie, the devil, is very strong. We need help to stay away from this evil.
God is with us. Christ has died on the cross. Jesus has overcome the devil. God is with us in our church. We are able to confess our sins and we are forgiven. The devil has no power over us. It is a constant struggle, but God is far more powerful than the devil and we have no need to fear!
Bishop Peter Stasiuk C.Ss.R. AM
This article was published in The Church and Life Newspaper, December 2018