My Catholic Faith Minute – Lesson 16: The Devils; Temptation, Question 2

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It was the archangel Michael who led the good angels: "And there was a great battle in heaven; Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels. And they did not prevail, neither was their place found any more in heaven" (Ap. 12:7,8).

What is the chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us?

The chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us is by tempting us to sin.

1. The bad angels tempt man and try to draw him away from God. Often the devil appears as an angel of light, and we are tempted by evil which appears good. Under this guise the devil is most dangerous.

"Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour" (1 Pet 5:8-9).

2. Without God's permission, the devil can do us no harm. God sometimes permits the devil to tempt just men, to cleanse them from imperfections. Our Lord Himself was tempted by the devil. God permitted Job to be harmed bodily by the devil. Saint Anthony, Saint Teresa, and many other saints suffered from the temptations of the evil one. But these temptations only drive the just to greater love of God.

“The life of man is a warfare” (Job. 7:1).

3. Sometimes devils are permitted to enter the body of a man, exercising power over his faculties; this is called diabolic "possession". At other times devils torment one from without; and this state is called diabolic "obsession".

When God permits diabolic obsession or possession, it is to show in some way His glory, or to punish sin, convert sinners, or provide some means for the practice of virtue.

4. In cases of diabolic possession or obsession, the aid of the Church should be sought; for the Church received from Christ the power of exorcism. This is the act of driving out or warding off evil spirits. It is only with the permission of his bishop that a priest is permitted to exorcise evil spirits.

5. The Church forbids Catholics to have anything to do with spiritism. This is calling up the spirits of the dead.

Some manifestations are spirit-rapping, table-lifting, slate-writing, apparitions, communications through mediums in a state of trance. Most of the spiritist seances are fraudulent, but sometimes the devil manifests himself. God can permit the souls of the dead to return to earth. But there is no indication that He permits Himself to obey mediums. The devil may sometimes impersonate the spirits of the dead. Satan is old and skillful in deceit, and can assume the appearance of an angel of light.

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