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Fr. Farfaglia: Victory Over Satan

By Fr. James Farfaglia
March 21st, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Aside from the real spiritual warfare that we experience with Satan, he can also make havoc on our weaknesses and wounds that we colloquially call our own personal demons.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Catholic Online) - Satan has deceived the world to believe that he does not exist, that there is no sin and that there is no hell. Nevertheless, Jesus tells us something to the contrary.

"I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10: 18). He was a murderer from the start; he was never grounded in the truth; there is no truth in him at all: when he lies he is drawing on his own store, because he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8: 44).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the reality of Satan with these words: "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" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 395)

In several accounts in the Gospel accounts we read of Jesus not only confronting Satan, but victorious over him.

"In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, ´What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!´ Jesus rebuked him and said, ´Quiet! Come out of him!´ The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him" (Mark 1: 23-26).

Our personal struggle with Satan and with evil is very real indeed. Saint Paul, the fearless apostle of the Gentiles, tells us in his letter to the Ephesians how we are to fight this battle.

"Put God´s armor on so as to be able to resist the devil´s tactics. For it is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness of this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens. That is why you must rely on God´s armor, or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground" (Ephesians 6: 1-13).

And what is God´s armor for you? Remember what I told you last week. We have to get out of our spiritual nursery school. We have to develop a very serious spiritual life and make frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession. We have to avoid moral relativism when it comes to the formation of our conscience and we have to remove from our soul any manifestation of sloth and spiritual tepidity.

Only by putting on God´s armor will we be able to persevere in this time of trial and tribulation.

Aside from the real spiritual warfare that we experience with Satan, he can also make havoc on our weaknesses and wounds that we colloquially call our own personal demons.

The damage that dysfunctional families make on the individual is astounding. Modern psychology recognizes that traumatic events that are too agonizing to deal with can be buried in our unconscious as a way of coping with the pain that the event or events may cause us. It is true that these buried emotions will affect our behavior unless we deal with them properly.

Bitterness, anger, resentment and discouragement can be healed. Jesus will heal us if we turn to him. If we want to experience peace and happiness in our lives we need to turn to the Lord.

However, too many times we escape from the pain caused by our personal demons, wounds, weaknesses and addictions by turning to sexual sin, drugs, excessive alcohol and over eating. Sometimes we seek escapes in excessive work, sports, entertainment and even shopping.

Jesus will bring about profound healing in our lives if we were to do three things every day: 1) spend 20 – 30 minutes each day in silent contemplative prayer; 2) go to Mass every day; and 3) pray the Rosary every day. These three moments of peaceful prayer will allow the Holy Spirit to enter into the deep recesses of our soul and heal us with his loving presence.

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Psalm 95: 8).

Accompanied by a deep spiritual life where we experience God on an intimate level, spiritual guidance by a qualified spiritual director is an important tool in our journey towards inner healing. Sometimes it may be useful for spiritual direction to be accompanied by therapy from a qualified psychologist who can complement the work of the spiritual director for an adequate period of time.

Openness is essential. It is important that we do not live in denial or find relief by complaining to our friends about our personal problems. We need to deal with our personal demons that cause us suffering and pain.

"In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, ´What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!´ Jesus rebuked him and said, ´Quiet! Come out of him!´ The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him" (Mark 1: 23-26).

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Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Father James is known for his orthodoxy, his unconditional obedience to the Pope, his delicate fidelity to all liturgical norms, his love for real sacred music, his well prepared homilies, and his unwavering pro-life stand. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

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