In a recent conversation with a former practitioner of the occult, I was able, by God’s Providence, to make a connection and see a demonstration of the way in which Satan seeks to do the opposite of what Our Lord does, of how Satan seeks to invert all that is good, to twist and to pervert it, to taint it and defile it, and to ruin it and the holiness which Our Lord has desired should come from it.
Satan is the ape of God, as it is said, in that he mocks all that God does, and offers counterfeit goods in place of what Our Lord is seeking to bestow upon us.
God offers us glory if we follow Him. Satan does as well, but his glory is of this world alone, which fades and ends in misery and disillusionment. The glory that Our Lord offers is eternal and must be awaited with great patience.
God offers power and strength and joy. Satan does as well, but his power is for our earthly gain, his strength is for us to persevere unchallenged in sin and evil, and his “joy” takes the form of earthly and obsessive pleasures which weaken and imprison us. The power and strength granted by Our Lord enables us to tread upon serpents, to rise above our sufferings, and to persevere in holiness against all obstacles. His joy is from a supernatural vision of what fulfills us and secures our life in grace and goodness, with the hope of one day seeing the all-good God and Creator with our own eyes.
God offers us companionship and relationships. Satan does as well, but his companionship is abusive and threatening, and the relationships he delivers are with those who love evil and will only treat us as useful tools for their own pleasure and personal gain. Our Lord offers us companionship with the citizens of Heaven, who selflessly seek our good at all times, and relationships with His followers on earth, who likewise seek to be holy as He is holy.
God is truthful, and He delivers on His promises, constantly leading us forward in holiness and happiness. Satan is a liar and, if he does grant what he offers, he uses that “gift” against us to compel us to serve him in evil and die in mortal sin.
The Providential Conversation
It may seem to be a petty thing to some, but to those of faith, and who have experienced Our Lord’s coordination of events, this story may be edifying. It presents a Providential juxtaposition of the liberating power of God against the oppressive goal of the Enemy.
In the conversation mentioned above, the former occultist shared an incident when, while deep into this practice, he summoned a specific demon to enter his house and dwell there. It seemed that this was an important moment in his ritual practices, but not something unheard of or extreme, given his level of involvement at the time. However, as he finished the ritual, the entire house began to groan and creak as if some great weight had come down upon it. It was clear that the demon had responded. It was also clear to the occultist that he had made a big mistake.
At that moment in the conversation, I related to him something that had Providentially happened to me earlier that very day. I had attended Mass at mid-day in my parish Church. The Church is a tall wooden structure, and the roof often creaks and pops as the sun heats it up in the course of the day. However, this day, the day of my conversation with this former occultist, the creaking and popping was different: it happened only once, very loudly, and at the precise moment of the first Consecration. Further, when this happened, which was many hours before hearing his story, my initial thought was that it seemed like the whole roof wanted to lift off of the Church and open up to the sky as the Lord of Hosts descended upon the altar. This was a rather natural occurrence which Our Lord used to communicate a supernatural joy, and His timing for doing so was very intentional.
An occultist summons a demon and the house groans in agony at the crushing weight of its arrival, striking fear and anxiety in the hearts of the inhabitants.
A Catholic priest brings Our Lord Jesus Christ into the Church through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Consecration of the Host, and the whole Church creaks and pops as if the building itself wished to embrace the Almighty with open arms. Inside, the faithful are filled with hope and joy and a surge of faith in the presence of God in their midst.
The Victorious Battle Makes the Sun Shine Brighter
When Our Lord entered the world, He initiated a real and often violent battle with the forces of evil. After His Birth, the devil orchestrated the slaughter of the Innocents whom the wicked King Herod thought could possibly be the newborn King. When He manifested Himself in the midst of the people of Israel and began His public ministry, the devil sought to orchestrate His death at every turn until, at last, through Rome, he accomplished this feat.
When we follow Our Lord in this world overrun by evil and under the power and influence of the Evil One, and we encounter the opposition which Satan wields against us, we are often prone to discouragement. He is crafty and convincing and very capable of leading us astray. We grow weary from his temptations and from laboring in the work of perseverance, often turning inward and relying upon ourselves alone for the strength to carry on. This mistake places us beneath Satan’s oppressive works.
If we would, instead, refuse to lay down the sword of faith and would choose to wield this weapon rather than our own fallen wills, we would remain as steadfast soldiers on the battlefield and, despite the injuries we may endure, would stand up in glory on the day the dust settles.
Our Lord liberates us but Satan, the Liar, oppresses us. On the battlefield of salvation, the sun is indeed darkened, but it shines, nonetheless. When we hold fast to the Lord, the Satanic veil over this world will be pierced by His divine grace, and we will know, with the confidence found only in the Holy Spirit, that goodness will prevail despite the apparent strength of evil.
The “weakness” of the martyr, who must let his life be snuffed out in this world, will be seen to be a divine strength, ushering him into the Kingdom of Heaven amidst fitting praise for his victory. When the victory is finally won for all followers of Christ, and Satan’s mechanisms and instruments of deception are thrown down, the sun will shine all the brighter for the time it was veiled.
Let us see the devil for who he is, resist him, and await with hope and eager expectation, the glory of Christ’s eternal victory.