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By Deacon Keith Fournier

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The devil is real. He is an enemy of the Lord and therefore he is our enemy as well.

The relic was given to the church in May 2011 by Cardinal Stanislaw Dzuwisz, a close personal friend of Blessed John Paul and his former personal secretary.  It was a piece of cloth from clothing of the late Pope, soaked in blood. Along with the theft of the reliquary, a cross was also stolen. Thieves broke in and stole the relic. The sanctuary they chose was the first one dedicated to Blessed John Paul II. He would say Mass in the chapel when he visited the mountains. The act has been called sacrilegious by the Vatican.

Blessed John Paul II laying in state after his death

Blessed John Paul II laying in state after his death

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: blood of Pope John Paul II, Devil, relic, theft, spiritual warfare, occult, Deacon Keith Fournier


ROME, Italy (Catholic Online) - On Friday morning, October 13, 2013, Pope Francis preached his daily homily at the Chapel of St Martha.  The Gospel of the day was taken from Luke 11:15-26:

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: "By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons." Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges.

But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest
but, finding none, it says, 'I shall return to my home from which I came.' But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.
(Luke 11:15-26)

Pope Francis spoke without any nuance, reminding the faithful that the devil is real and that  Jesus Christ truly confronted him. He also made it clear that you and I, those who bear the name Christian in this hour, also face demonic opposition. The devil is real. He is an enemy of the Lord and therefore he is our enemy as well.

Then, he reminded us all that we have been equipped for the battle and we must engage in it in our daily lives! The man who took the name Francis did what his namesake, the little poor man of Assisi, did quite regularly - he called all who listened to his words to take the task of spiritual warfare seriously and to learn how to engage in it.

To the chagrin of some who think all this talk of the devil is outdated, - but to the great dismay of the demons of hell, Pope Francis spoke of the devil - again. He called those at daily Mass, and all of us who read his sermon, to take the Bible passages that mention the devil seriously.

In his introduction to The Screwtape Letters, a brilliant work exposing the unseen spiritual warfare taking place around us through a series of letters between two demons -  the older Screwtape, an instructor and the younger student Wormwood - CS Lewis wrote:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

We are engaged in a spiritual war for the souls of men and women in this hour. We must remember that the struggle is at root, a spiritual one.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus: Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood; but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph. 6:12,13)

He wrote these words to the Christians in Corinth: "For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:4,5)  The successor of Peter is speaking to you and me in this moment of the same ongoing struggle with spiritual strongholds. Let's consider more of what he had to say last October:

There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others say: 'But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness'. They do not read this, no? It is true that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter, as if to say: 'All of these (people) were not possessed; they were mentally ill'. No! The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil

This crystal clear invitation to not downplay, minimize or confuse the reality of the devil is clear. Pope Francis challenged all of us to not be na´ve when we are faced with the temptation to "to diminish the power of the Lord." He proclaimed, There is always the temptation to want to diminish the figure of Jesus, as if he were "a healer at most" and so as not to take him "so seriously". Sadly, that temptation has made its way into too many homilies. Even worse, it has made its way into our daily lives as Christians.

Do not confuse the truth. Jesus fights the devil: first criterion. Second criterion: he who is not with Jesus is against Jesus. There are no attitudes in the middle. Third criterion: vigilance over our hearts because the devil is astute. He is never cast out forever. It will only be so on the last day."

Vigilance," Francis said, "because his strategy is this: 'You became Christian. Advance in your faith. I will leave you. I will leave you tranquil. But then when you are used to not being so watchful and you feel secure, I will come back'. The Gospel today begins with the devil being cast out and ends with the devil coming back! St. Peter would say: 'It is like a fierce lion that circles us'. It is like that.

'But, Father, you a little ancient. You are frightening us with these things' No, not me! It is the Gospel! And these are not lies: it is the Word of the Lord! Let us ask the Lord for the grace to take these things seriously. He came to fight for our salvation. He won against the devil! Please, let us not do business with the devil! He seeks to return home, to take possession of us. Do not relativize; be vigilant! And always with Jesus!"

The passage Francis referred to in the words of that homily, the ones comparing the devil to a roaring lion are found in the first letter which the Apostle Peter wrote to the early Church which had already been dispersed due to a violent and hostile persecution. That persecution was specifically directed against the Christians. It was undertaken by some in that culture who did not like their message or their manner of life. Here is a snippet from the letter:

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)

On Monday, January 27, 2014, European News sources reported that a relic which contained the blood of Blessed John Paul II was stolen from a church in the mountains of Italy where the late Pope loved to visit. The Church is a center of devotion to John Paul and a favorite of many dedicated to his cause for canonization.

The relic was given to the church in May 2011 by Cardinal Stanislaw Dzuwisz, a close personal friend of Blessed John Paul and his former personal secretary.  It was a piece of cloth from clothing of the late Pope, soaked in blood. Along with the theft of the reliquary, a cross was also stolen. Thieves broke in and stole the relic. The sanctuary they chose was the first one dedicated to Blessed John Paul II. He would say Mass in the chapel when he visited the mountains. The act has been called sacrilegious by the Vatican.

Giovanni Panunzio is the national coordinator of Osservatorio Antiplagio, a group which works to expose and oppose the occult in Europe. He told the European Press, "It's possible that there could be Satanic sects behind the theft of the reliquary. This period of the year is important in the Satanic calendar and culminates in the Satanic 'new year' on Feb 1. This sort of sacrilege often takes place at this time of the year. We hope that the stolen items are recovered as quickly as possible."

Was the relic stolen by those who are being deceived by the continuing evil work of the devil in this hour? We may never know the answer, at least with certainty. However, the fitting response of the faithful is to follow the heroic example set by Blessed John Paul himself, pray in confidence, knowing that the power of God is greater. Do spiritual warfare against the works of darkness in this hour and "Be Not Afraid."

---


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