Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

4/8/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This is the frightful absurdity of evil. This absurdity and rage is the demonic poison of hatred and pride, and the only antidote, I have come to accept-the only antidote for which I plead- is the Divine Mercy.

The devil is a liar, and because he lies all the time dealing with him is like walking on quicksand or dancing in a minefield. When dealing with evil in the personality we are constantly confronted with false images, false diagnoses, confusing signals, distractions, distortions and disturbing evidence.

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina

Highlights

By Fr Dwight Longenecker

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/8/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Fr Dwight Longenecker, exorcism, devil, evil, Divine mercy, grace, conversion, spirituality,


GREENVILLE, S.C. (Catholic Online) - An exorcist told me one of the most disturbing and maddening things about exorcism is that one can rarely diagnose the problem completely. "You see," he said, "the devil is a liar and the father of lies. Once you have identified the demon you don't know if you really have or not. The demon lurks within. He will lie, lie, lie. He will pretend to respond to your commands, but then trick you. He is malicious beyond your imaginings."

I have thought much about this over the years since I heard this and realize how true it is. The devil is a liar, and because he lies all the time dealing with him is like walking on quicksand or dancing in a minefield. When dealing with evil in the personality we are constantly confronted with false images, false diagnoses, confusing signals, distractions, distortions and disturbing evidence.

Is the person really possessed or is it mental illness? It there a medical and chemical disturbance, or is it a personality disorder or  is the problem psychological? Is the person disturbed emotionally or are there deep relational problems? Is there abuse, addiction or psychiatric illness? It could be all these things or a mixture of them. All these things could be woven together like an intractable knot, and added to the disturbance could be demonic influences, sinful addictions or even full blown demonic possession.

Then the problems is compounded because the demon, if there really is a demon there, will hide and deceive. He will whine and be the coward one moment and be defiant and blasphemous the next. He'll use every ruse and diabolical subterfuge-hiding behind all manner of illnesses and madness.

The intricacy of unraveling the problem is time consuming and constantly frustrating because woven in and through all of it is the absurdity of evil. Evil causes suffering for which there is no rational answer. Because the devil is the father of lies there is not truth. None. Nowhere. Therefore the suffering he causes is irrational and absurd. This is why the suffering hurts so much-because there is no answer. The Lord of Lies is the Lord of Flies he is the master of chaos for chaos masters him. He is locked in a swamp of darkness and burning sinking sands.

C.S.Lewis captures this relentless absurdity in his space fiction Perelandra in which the hero, Ransom embarks on a life and death struggle with a demon infested human named Weston. At one point Weston keeps Ransom awake simply by taunting him by calling his name over and over again like a child-bully. Weston never sleeps, but prowls about torturing small animals for pleasure. He argues with Ransom endlessly-using reason when he wants to, and then simply laughing or uttering absurdities when Ransom wins the argument.

This puerile, absurd and horrifying aspect of evil is what makes so much of  the current state of argument in our own society seem so pointless. How often has one entered into debate with an atheist or agnostic only to realize that they are seemingly incapable of reasoning. They seem intelligent on the one hand, but then spout the most outrageous and ridiculous statements that do not even pretend to be rational or informed. This absurdity is the spirit of the demon. It is evil personified for evil is absurd, and evil is full of rage.

This afternoon, pondering on these matters I had a picture in my mind of Satan, restless Satan, pacing up and down, pacing up and down, his mind always feverishly at work, thinking what he might have said, thinking what he might have done to avoid Christ's triumph, thinking what he will do, scheming and planning and working his mind over and over again, never at rest, never at rest. Chasing his pointed tail in endless, pointless and absurd debate within his proud mind.

Then I thought of the times I have done the same-when my pride has been wounded, when I've lost an argument, when I've been hurt in some way. My mind goes over and over what I should have said and how I should have behaved and what I might have done. It is the devil in me too in a way-always restless and always raging in pride.

This is the final absurdity of evil-that it is fueled with an inchoate and incoherent rage. It bathes in rage. Rage seethes like volcanic lava through the evil. You can always recognize the devil at work when you see rage, for rage, like evil itself is irrational. It is pure emotion that is the opposite and the enemy of love. It is foul where love is lovely. It is irrational where love is reasonable. It is beastly where love is beautiful. It is a lie where love is the truth of heaven.

This is the frightful absurdity of evil. This absurdity and rage is the demonic poison of hatred and pride, and the only antidote, I have come to accept-the only antidote for which I plead- is the Divine Mercy.

-----

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary church in Greenville, South Carolina.Visit his blog, listen to his radio show, subscribe to his weekly newsletter and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com Join Fr Longenecker during Lent for a Blobble Study. That is a Bible study on a blog. On his blog, Standing on My Head he will lead readers through a study of Mark's gospel. There will be a reading from the gospel each day with a short reflection. Then the combox is open for comment and discussion. His latest book is The Romance of Religion --Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More U.S.

The Prophetic Dream of Don Bosco and the Leadership of the Pope

Image of The saint saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded. The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment. In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean

By Deacon Keith Fournier

This vision could describe what is occurring in our own day. Visions use symbols to communicate. They often have numerous applications and interpretations. We have been blessed with successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns, ... continue reading


For the first time in 100 years, Yosemite National Park hosts extremely rare sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox Watch

Image of For the first time in 100 years, the Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in the Yosemite National Park.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the first confirmed sighting in nearly 100 years, the rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been captured with motion-sensitive cameras in the Yosemite National Park. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red ... continue reading


Disaffected Colorado teenager who tried to join ISIS gets four years in prison Watch

Image of After serving four years in prison, 19-year-old Shannon Conley must spend three years of supervised release and serve community service.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Poor choices made in youthful hast have consequences. Nineteen-year-old Shannon Conley, from Colorado has been sentenced to four years in prison for attempting to join Islamic State. At the heart of this disturbing story is an Internet romance that went ... continue reading


Coin collectors of the world eagerly line up to see 1822 Half Eagle at convention Watch

Image of Historically, nearly 18,000 of the $5 pieces were minted in 1822. As the concentration of gold was lowered in coins after 1834, most of the earlier coins were melted down for gold.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

One of the rarest coins in the U.S., the 1822 Half Eagle, originally worth only $5, will make its first public appearance in more than three decades in Long Beach this weekend. There are only three of the coins known still in existence. The coin will go on ... continue reading


California's Kern County declares state of FISCAL EMERGENCY with plunging gas prices Watch

Image of Supervisors adopted a plan to immediately begin scaling back county spending rather than making deep reductions all at once in July.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kern County, in central California, relies heavily on its petroleum industry for tax revenues. While motorists nationwide are currently enjoying lower gas prices, this spells certain disaster for the County of Kern - officials there have declared a fiscal ... continue reading


Could terrorists attempt to attack the White House with a drone? Crash sparks debate over future use of drones in war Watch

Image of A small, four propeller drone, crashed on the White House lawn, spurring a discussion on whether drones may be used by terrorist groups in the future.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A two-foot-long, four propeller drone crashed onto the White House grounds yesterday, raising troubling questions that drones could be utilized by terrorists or other potential murderers to attack the White House or other U.S. government institutions that have ... continue reading


The Thrill of the Chaste: Matt C. Abbott Interviews Dawn Eden Watch

Image of Dawn Eden, author of the highly-acclaimed My Peace I Give You and the Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste

By Matt C. Abbott

Being a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, and receiving Jesus' own Body and Blood in the Eucharist, has given me a deeper understanding of the meaning of being embodied. I see more clearly how chastity enables one to love fully in each relationship, in the ... continue reading


GOP teams up with Israeli prime minister to forcefully override Obama's Iran policy Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

House Speaker John Boehner is seeking to enlist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support a congressional plan to override President Obama's Iran policy on March 3. Boehner hopes to bring Netanyahu to a joint session of the House and Senate. Boehner ... continue reading


The Prophetic Connection Between the March for Life and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is no accident that the March for Life always falls within the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It is prophetic.We have been thrown together in a common defense of life in a western culture which has lost its moral compass. Our Marching together ... continue reading


Early Christian Deacon and Martyr Vincent Calls Us to Heroic Christian Witness in a Hostile Culture Watch

Image of Vincent was born in the Third Century in Huesca, Spain and born again to eternal life only four days into the fourth century. He lived in Saragossa where he served the holy Bishop Valerius as a Deacon.He was one of the scores of Christians who suffered brutal persecution under the evil Roman emperor named Diocletian. Diocletian is associated with the last of the ten persecutions of the nascent undivided Christian Church of the first millennium of our history.  Like many early deacons of the undivided Church such as Stephen, Lawrence and Ephrem, the hagiography which has been passed down through the Church records his holiness of life and heroic virtue. He lived the way he died, as a sign of the power of the Gospel and the truth of the presence of the Risen Jesus Christ in our midst.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Deacon Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always accompany living the Christian life in the midst of a culture which has squeezed God and His truth out of the ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
1 Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope ... Read More

Psalm, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
69 and he has established for us a saving power in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:35-41
35 With the coming of evening that same day, he said ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 31st, 2015 Image

St. John Bosco
January 31: What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren't they just random ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter