Thursday, April 10, 2014

Whom shall we take as our model: Our Lady and the Saints or the devils?

Remember Janice Potter?  She is the secretary over at Saint Joseph's Parish in Fitchburg who told me I shouldn't return to the parish because I had a problem with the  liturgical abuses there.  Most notably, the parish was omitting the Creed on Sundays.  See here.  She is still serving at the parish.  See here.

A reader named Stewart informed us that, "Janice Potter is known on Facebook by the alias Jancanman. She has 'liked' a Facebook page titled 'Hope There's Wine In Hell.'

That page may be found here:

Jan has also posed as a devil for a photo which she uses on various internet profiles.

In order to live our lives completely for God, we have to struggle against the principalities and powers of this world.  So many Catholics today refuse to acknowledge this truth.  For such people, belief in evil spirits is a matter of "superstition."  Pope Paul VI, in a general audience on November 15, 1972, refuted this notion saying, "What are the Church's greatest needs at the present time?  Don't be surprised at our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: one of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil which we call the Devil...Evil is not merely an absence of something but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others....It is a departure from the picture provided by biblical and Church teaching to refuse to acknowledge the Devil's existence...or to explain the Devil as a pseudoreality, a conceptual, fanciful, personification of the unknown causes of our misfortunes...St. Paul calls him the 'god of this world,' and warns us of the struggle we Christians must carry on in the dark, not only against one Devil, but against a frightening multiplicity of them.."

Our spiritual struggle, then, is against a host of evil spirits.  And these evil spirits are extremely cunning.  Although they are fallen angels, they are still far more intelligent than us because of their angelic natures.  Pope Paul VI, during the same audience, stressed that the Devil, "..undermines man's moral equilibrium with his sophistry.  He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our social activities, so that he can bring in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental make-up, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations....The matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today.."

Forty years later, we can still say the same.  Little if any attention is paid to this critical aspect of Catholic doctrine.  Mostly, I think, because we believe (in our arrogance) that we can solve all problems and difficulties ourselves.  We forget Jesus' warning that some spirits can only be driven out through much prayer and fasting.

Jesus gives us power and authority over demonic forces.  The demons were subject to the seventy disciples (Luke 10: 17-20).  They were subject to Saint Paul and the first Christians.  And they are subject to us as present-day followers of the Lord Jesus.  But in order to use this power over the evil spirits, those of us who profess to be Christian must grow and develop in our spiritual lives.  This means that we must strive to "live for God completely" as Archbishop Chaput reminded us.  We must attend Holy Mass faithfully (and reverently), pray daily - the Rosary is a spiritual weapon which Satan fears, and spend time with Sacred Scripture - God's Holy Word.

As Christians, we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ (Romans 8: 37-39).  Let's live our lives accordingly.  This means listening to the Magisterium of the Church with docility and submitting our minds and wills to that teaching authority which has been established by Jesus Himself.  Without such obedience, how can we expect the evil spirits to obey our command - in the name of Jesus - to depart?  Disobedience and sin will not drive out the demons.  Only a life of faith lived in humility, taking the Virgin Mother of God as our model.

What are we waiting for? And whom shall we take as our model: Our Lady and the Saints who lived for God completely or the devils who reject God's saving plan?

The answer to that question will determine whether we re-evangelize our culture or come to resemble the demons whose doctrines we follow.


Anonymous said...

Believe what you want, but the whole idea of "devils" and "imps" flittin' around in the ether trying to get poor souls to commit sins so those souls will wind up burning in hell forever and ever, is for me just not believable; but, hey, one thing that makes our country great is that everyone is free to believe whatever wacky doctrines they want.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

You'll believe on the Dies Irae. I pray for you.

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Catechism of the Catholic Church:


391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."268

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."270 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".271

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."272

394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father.273 "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil."274 In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."275

Jonathan said...

From Vatican Insider

By Domenico Agasso jr

The devil exists in the 21st century too. We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against his temptations. This was the crux of Francis’ message to faithful at this morning’s mass in St. Martha’s House. The Pope reminded that all humans are tempted by the devil whose goal is to wipe out sainthood in the world.

Christian life is “a constant battle against evil, just as Jesus during his life had to struggle against the devil and his many temptations. He came to defeat evil and defeat the prince of this world, defeat the devil. The devil tempted Jesus many times and Jesus experienced temptation and persecution throughout his lifetime. And he warned that whoever wants to follow Jesus must be aware of this reality,” Francis said.

“We too are tempted, we too are the target of attacks by the devil because the spirit of Evil does not want our holiness, he does not want our Christian witness, he does not want us to be disciples of Christ. And what does the Spirit of Evil do, through his temptations, to distance us from the path of Jesus? The temptation of the devil has three characteristics and we need to learn about them in order not to fall into the trap. What does Satan do to distance us from the path of Jesus? Firstly, his temptation begins gradually but grows and is always growing. Secondly, it grows and infects another person, it spreads to another and seeks to be part of the community. And in the end, in order to calm the soul, it justifies itself. It grows, it spreads and it justifies itself.”

Jesus’ first temptation by Satan was almost ‘like a seduction.’ Satan told Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple so that all the people will see that he is the Messiah! This is exactly what he does with Adam and Eve: “This is seduction.”

The devil “speaks as if he were a spiritual master.” “When the devil is rejected, he grows and comes back stronger than before. Jesus himself noted this in the gospel when the devil went around looking for companions and with them returned to Jesus. Satan got involved with Jesus’ enemies and what seemed at first like a calm trickle of water turned into a flood of water. In this way, the temptation grows, infects others and justifies itself.”

The Pope illustrated his point by recalling that when Jesus preached in the synagogue, his enemies belittled him by saying “but isn’t this the son of Joseph, the carpenter, the son of Mary. He never studied so with what authority can he speak? Temptation gets everyone to act against Jesus....

Pope Francis concluded by urging people to be vigilant and not to give in to that initial temptation and thus allow it to spread to others and justify itself. If we don’t stop that trickle of water in time it will turn into a tidal wave that will only lead us to justify evil.

“We are all tempted because the law of our spiritual life, our Christian life is a struggle: a struggle. That’s because the Prince of this world, Satan, doesn’t want our holiness, he doesn’t want us to follow Christ,” Francis added.

“Some of you might say: ‘But Father, how old fashioned you are to speak about the devil in the 21st century!’ But look out because the devil is present! The devil is here… even in the 21st century! And we mustn’t be naïve, right? We must learn from the Gospel how to fight against Satan.”

Anonymous said...

When the president of the PTO at St Monica school in Methuen refers in public to the pastors as " Father Satan" or " FFA" (Father f''' a''') can't even write that one, and the Catholic school reqires the intervention of the archdiocese to cease from engaging in Komen fundraising in the school..ignores pleas to NOT involve our children in a Lenten computer activity sponsored by the United Nations...well, our young people certainly are getting the wrong message.

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