Kathy Bernard – Publisher of  A CatholicView

 "Be sober and watch: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth
about seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8)


We, who believe in God are well aware of Satan and his wiles.  He is sometimes referred to as Devil, archfiend Satan, Lucifer, Tempter, Prince of Darkness, and the Master of Hell.  But who is he really?  We know he tempts us and wants to gain our souls and we also know he is the master of evil, deception and deceit in the world.  Nonetheless we are human and flawed with sin, so we must recognize and avoid the pitfalls that evil sets up for us.

Satan was a favored angel in heaven before his fall from grace.  Catholic-Pages.com describes: “Angels are purely spiritual creatures, do not have bodies, therefore are not constrained by bodies as we are. They are personal and immortal.  They also have intellects and free will, just as we do."  And it is this “free will” that caused the fall of Satan, for he chose to disobey the God Who created him.

Scripture, supplemented by Jewish and Christian tradition, suggest that there are nine orders of angels in the hierarchy of heaven: Seraphim, Cherubim, Throne, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.  The nine orders of the angels are divided into three hierarchies, each of which was then divided into three orders: the highest, the intermediate, the lower.  The first hierarch, the highest and closest to the Most Holy Trinity, consists of the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones.  

Satan was one of the Archangels.  He is also called Lucifer, because he was the light bearer, a highly honored position.  But Satan made an irrevocable choice to reject Heaven because he wanted to be a god too and fought for this right.  A great battle broke out in heaven and some angels fell from their state of innocence and grace and became followers of Satan.  They deliberately decided to rebel under the auspices of Satan.   Michael, the Archangel of God, chosen to defeat Satan, fought violently against him, and Satan and his followers were cast out of heaven into earth.  They were banned forever from enjoying the beauty of God’s kingdom, but as Revelation 12:7-8 relates, they are free to entice and win as many souls as possible for their kingdom of Hell.  

Theologian Cardinal George Cottier of the Pontifical Household has this to say: “We should take the devil "very seriously," but without losing confidence in the love of God”.  Cottier’s credentials are extensive and include the title of Swiss Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Dominican, Theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household.  He joined the Dominican Order in 1945 and was ordained priest in 1951. He also was a professor at the Universities of Geneva and Fribourg and became secretary of the International Theological Commission in 1989. He was nominated Pro-Theologian of the Pontifical Household in 1990. He was also appointed Titular Archbishop of Tullia in 2003 and consecrated in 2003.  He was proclaimed Cardinal-Deacon of Santi Domenico e Sisto by Pope John Paul II in 2003. 

"The devil is without a doubt the great seducer because he tries to lead man into sin by presenting evil as good. But the fall is our responsibility, because the conscience has the ability to distinguish what is good and what is evil.”  The Cardinal continues, “The devil wants man to sin out of envy and jealousy. He wants to drag man with him because he himself is a fallen angel.  Satan was created by God as a good angel, because God does not create evil. Everything that comes from the creative hand of God is good.  If the devil has become evil, it is by his own culpability, and by using his freedom badly.  He further states, "God would not have permitted evil if he had not willed to make of this evil a greater good. There are goods that humanity would not have known if it was not for the presence of sin and evil. It is difficult to affirm this, but it is the truth.

"Christian tradition tells us that there are three sources of temptation.  The most terrible, of course, is that of the devil.  Then there is the world, society, "others" in St. John's sense.   And finally there is the 'flesh' that is, we ourselves.  St. John of the Cross says that of these three temptations the most dangerous is the last, that is, we ourselves. The worst enemy for each one of us is ourselves.  Not ever to forget that the passion and death of Jesus have triumphed forever over the devil.  This is a certainty.  St. Paul's says it.  Faith is the victory over the father of sin and lies. This means that the Satan, being a creature, does not have infinite power.  Despite all his efforts, he will never be able to impede the building of the Kingdom of God, which grows despite all the persecutions.   The Christian, thanks to fidelity in the faith, conquers evil.

In conclusion Cardinal Cottier tells us once again:  "We must take the devil very seriously, but we must not think that he is omnipotent.  There are people who have an irrational fear of the devil.  Christian confidence, which is nourished with prayer, humility and penance, must be above all, confidence in the love of the Father.  And this love is stronger than all.  We must have the consciousness that the mercy of God is so great as to surmount all obstacles.”

Why does Satan take such an interest in us?  It is because he wants to steal and plunder, stripping us of the eternal life that is promised. If we accept the Lord and believe in Jesus Christ, he has no dominion over us.   We belong to the God he wanted to emulate and he lost the battle.

So does Satan really exist?  If I say he does not exist this gives him a tremendous power to move freely into my life without my knowledge.  He takes whatever form I allow and he is so subtle I cannot reason that he is working within me, and perhaps even through an acquaintance he quietly offers his temptation which he meticulously selects, knowing it is a particular enticement to me.  In essence he wants to steal my soul for his own final judgment which is a forever, eternal place called Hell.  

2 Peter tells us: “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them.  In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves.  Many will follow evil teachings and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered….  But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed. “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into Hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the Day of Judgment.   …These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed.  Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin.  With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception… For you are a slave to whatever controls you.”

If we choose to turn our backs to God’s reality in our lives, we continue on in the illusion of the fake joy Satan has led us to, and we will no longer be able to hear God’s voice calling out to us.  The insidious audacity of Satan’s intrusion into our lives is almost imperceptible.  2Peter 3 tells “I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles. Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.

Here is what Father Michael Scanlon, T.O.R, President of the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Steubenville, Ohio, has to say on this subject:  “Demonic temptation can take place at various levels. The most elementary level is the sharp, one-time enticement, which eventually passes, either because it is successfully resisted or eventually given in to. At its most profound level, satanic temptation can result in a bondage to sin, which exercises a thorough domination over a person, which seems impossible to overcome.   Demonic temptation ranges from simple and everyday occurrences to bizarre thoughts and expressions. It encompasses everything from "little white lies" to murder and adultery. The main purpose in demonic temptation is to trap people in sin and keep them off guard. Like military commandos, evil spirits make quick raids into vulnerable areas of life. They look for opportunities to use men's weaknesses to their own advantage. They know how to present the "right" temptation, tailor-made for each person.   They gain footholds in people's lives under the cover of the weakness of the flesh.   They look for spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental weak points. Keeping close watch on these areas, they look for occasions to strike and inflict whatever damage they can.  They will maintain their hold on an area as long as they remain unchallenged.  Evil spirits like to get involved in the little things of the day because they can lead to bigger things.  Small irritations can escalate into anger and frustration.  Disappointment can become envy and self-pity.   These sins can often have their roots in the demonic.  Through them, evil spirits can keep Christian lives off balance, stifle their relationships, and move them toward more opportunities to sin.”

Matthew 25: 31-41 tells us,  “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left.  “Then the King (Jesus) will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil (Satan) and his demons."

“I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends.  Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing.  Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter: 17 – 18.

Glory to our Lord Who reigns forever.  Be with me always!

”Amen, amen I say unto you: He that believeth in Me, hath everlasting life” - John 6:47

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