The 7 Deadly Sins

Catholic Journal, Fr. Joseph Esper:

The 7 Deadly Sins

The 7 Deadly Sins

Once there was a liberal clergyman who became pastor of a somewhat traditional church, and after a few weeks of listening to his modernistic, politically-correct preaching, some of his parishioners came to him and asked, “Reverend, do you believe in the devil and in hell?” The pastor scoffed at these ideas and responded, “No, of course not; those are silly medieval superstitions.” To this, the parishioners said, “Well, then, please resign and go somewhere else—for if there is no devil and no hell, we don’t need you, and if there is a devil and a hell, we don’t want to be led astray by you” (David F. Burgess, Encyclopedia of Sermon Illustrations, #451). The Church has always taught the reality of the devil, and the possibility of being eternally damned along with him as a result of the spiritual warfare he wages against us. For instance, Pope Francis has stated that the devil “exists in the 21st century, and we need to learn from the Gospel how to battle against him,” and also that “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 [him].” It is not only mistaken, but also spiritually foolish—and potentially disastrous—to deny or ignore the devil’s existence. He hates each one of us personally, and is always plotting and working against us, seeking our eternal damnation. Only by remaining on guard against him, and by using the spiritual weapons and defenses the Lord provides us through the Church, can we be sure of defeating his attacks and of one day reaching our true home in heaven.

Jesus uses the image of weeds among the wheat to explain why evildoers are to be found in the world and even in the Church. However, it’s also possible to interpret this parable on a more personal basis: namely, Satan is trying to sow his evil seeds of sin and spiritual destruction in our own lives—and it’s our duty guard against this threat. The devil studies us very carefully, taking note of our strengths and weaknesses, our habits and inclinations, and he shrewdly chooses the particular temptations and attacks best suited to overcome us—all the while striving to work behind the scenes without us suspecting anything. Therefore, it’s good to ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. In this regard, we might ask ourselves: what particular evil seeds is the devil attempting to sow in the field of our lives?

The Church speaks of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” which are anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and sloth or laziness. Every human being is weak or easily tempted in at least one of these areas, and probably several of them—and so these are usually the focus of the devil’s attacks.

  • In regard to anger, for instance, the devil wants us to nurse grudges and refuse to forgive other people, to become impatient with their failings, and to overreact to the things about them that annoy us.
  • Satan tries to use the sin of envy against us by getting us to compare ourselves with others, to adopt an “entitlement mentality,” and to consider ourselves better than those around us.
  • Because we Americans are, compared to most people, very self-indulgent, the devil has found gluttony to be a fertile field for his evil seeds. He tempts us to overdo life’s legitimate pleasures, to disdain or reject sacrifice and self-control, and to ignore other people’s poverty or suffering.
  • Greed is also a common weakness in our society, so Satan tempts us to want more money and possessions, more technology and convenience, and more luxury and leisure—when we should instead be concerned with storing up treasure for ourselves in heaven.
  • Lust is a particularly fertile field for the devil’s seeds; as Our Lady of Fatima revealed, more souls are in hell for sins against the 6th Commandment than any other. Satan is constantly tempting us to misuse sex, to glorify and expose our bodies, and to treat other people as objects for our own pleasure.
  • Pride is the sin which transformed Lucifer, the greatest of all the angels, into the hideous creature of Satan—and so the devil delights in using this sin against us. He wants us to think, “I’m superior to others, I know what’s best for me, and no one is going to tell me how to live my life”—for such attitudes make spiritual growth impossible, while causing us to reject the God-given authority and saving power of the Church.
  • Even if all these temptations fail, the devil will try to get us to fall victim to sloth, or spiritual laziness, in which we know we have to repent or take our spiritual duties more seriously, but we just can’t motivate ourselves to get started. Instead of striving for holiness, Satan wants us to settle for being good enough—for that may eventually allow him to turn us against God.

Other snares of the devil include poisoning our relationships, distracting us with this life’s concerns so that we’re always too busy or preoccupied to pay attention to God, making us afraid to do what’s right because of what other people might say, inflating our egos by appealing to our natural desire to be popular and praised by others, and trying to discourage us by convincing us we’ll never overcome our faults and that holiness is beyond our reach.

Farmers use weed-killers or pesticides to prevent or remove weeds in their fields, and fertilizer to nourish the crop and bring about the greatest possible growth. The most potent weed-killer against Satan’s evil seeds of spiritual destruction is humility. The more we humble ourselves, the more God’s grace can be at work within us, helping us overcome our faults and grow in holiness. In particular, frequently examining our consciences and regularly receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation will ensure the devil will not gain a solid foothold in our lives. As far as the spiritual fertilizer we need, worthily receiving Holy Communion each weekend is the single greatest thing we can do to be made ready for eternal life in heaven. Other valuable means of tending the field of our souls include reading the Bible and other worthwhile spiritual books, setting aside time for prayer every day, seeking God’s guidance in all our decisions, learning more about our Catholic faith, submitting to the authority of the Church on moral and religious issues, praying for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in purgatory, and cultivating a loving relationship with the Virgin Mary, our guardian angels, and our favorite saints. Satan is real; he is hate-filled and dangerous, and is conducting spiritual warfare against each of us personally. However, the devil is doomed to fail—if we take our faith seriously, and if we make a loving relationship with Jesus our highest priority.

Satan, Diabolical Nicety and You

Sword of Truth, by Fr. Nathan Siray,

In a short span of time, St. Peter went from being proclaimed  the steadfast Rock on which Jesus Christ would built His Holy Church to being rebuked as having the spirit of Satan within his
heart.

A false image of Satan.

When Christians hear the name Satan, they tend to think of the  devil as we commonly depict him: some sort of a red fiery goat creature with a pitchfork, pointed horns and in all honesty not all that frightening as he looks more like cartoon character than the Prince of Darkness. But the Jewish people thought of Satan in a different manner, based on the meaning of his name in Hebrew. The name Satan can be best translated as the accuser. They understood Satan to not be a fiendish centaur-like monster but instead a fallen angel who was the adversary of God but who was nonetheless permitted by God to act as an accuser against humanity.

In both the Book of Job and the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, we read how Satan was permitted to stand before the Throne of God, surrounded by the angelic court, and act as an accuser against the actions of humanity. God permitted His servants to undergo temptation and satanic manipulation and they proved to be faithful to God when put to the test.

Our Lord made frequent references to the activity and influence of Satan throughout His ministry, Himself undergoing temptation from the Evil One, and revealing how this adversary of God even tried to accuse Jesus of failing to act as God’s Son by not using His divine power to give himself bread to eat or to show how God would save Him from harm.

In rebuking St Peter and calling him a Satan, our Lord was showing a loving concern for the newly appointed leader of the Church in helping St Peter to realize that he, like the Devil, was acting as an accuser, by trying to dissuade Jesus from undergoing His Passion and regarding the coming of God’s Kingdom in all too human terms. St Peter had fallen under the influence of the cunning serpent and rightly needed to be rebuked by Christ, dispelling whatever satanic manipulation St Peter had undergone by once again saying Yes to the will of His Heavenly Father in accepting the royal road to the Cross and Resurrection.

If St. Peter, the Rock on which Christ built His church, was able to fall under the dark spell of the Evil One and become both an adversary and accuser against Christ, even if only for a passing moment, than we should not be surprised that Satan will look to deceive and manipulate other men and women in leadership positions and have them cause grave evil in the world.

Often, the machinations and deceiving influence of the Devil appears as actions that are seen as praiseworthy and good for society yet beneath these words and actions are what one could call “diabolical nicety.”

Take for example the recent actions of a prominent world leader, one that was baptized Catholic and has spoken of himself as being a practicing member of our Church in his own estimation. This world leader sent out a message on twitter recently congratulating Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the United States and elsewhere in the world, on their 100th anniversary and looked forward to their next 100 years, using the hashtag #100yearsstong. This tweet contained no words of profanity or overtly satanic references, but these words, as nice as they might sound, are sheer evil as this world leader gave thanks for 100 years of killing more than 100 million unborn children and hoped that the slaughter of the silent innocents will continue for another century. This is but one example of diabolical nicety, using politically correct language and appealing words like human rights, tolerance, progress, reproductive health and others to disguise and give praise for what is evil in the Lord’s sight.

Satan will not hesitate to use the powerful, elegant, attractive,  influential and ambitious of our world to continue the work of being the adversary and accuser of both God and His People. When a man or woman of incredible gifts and talents have not given their hearts to God and seek to serve first His kingdom and glory, than those gifts and talents can so easily be used by Satan, but more often than not disguised behind a smile and elegant words that sounds appealing and caring but in truth reek of evil and lies of hell.

Since the days of the Roman Caesars, who did not hesitate to kill God’s Holy People, both young and old, our Church has taken it upon herself to pray for men and women in positions of leadership. Be they political, religious, economic or media leaders, we, as God’s Holy People, must pray for the conversion of countless individuals who are carrying out the work of Satan in our world, most especially when these individuals are totally blind to the demonic influence that is compelling them to speak and act in a spirit of diabolical nicety. In addition to prayer and penance for these individuals, we  must also be courageous in acting out against the lies that they proclaim. We must make our voices heard when evil is promoted as good. We must manifest our faith for others to see and realize that doing so will cause people to hate us. We must give voice to those who have no means to speak. In all things, we must drown out the evil of this world in an abundance of good.

St. Peter might have allowed Satan to deceive him and cause him be become a momentary accuser and adversary of Christ. But we know he was reconciled to the Lord and remained faithful to Jesus, dying crucified upon on upside down Cross under the orders of the Emperor Nero, who is an example of a leader who had become a pawn of Satan.

Let us ask the Prince of the Apostles to intercede for all men and women of influence and power who have become adversaries of Jesus Christ, that they will recognize the evil they are doing and seek to repent and be reconciled back to Heart of Jesus Christ lest they face His dread judgment for their wicked and evil deeds.

Anxious Over Up-coming Persecution?

“It is So Crazy Out Here!”

By Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke:

The trial of persecution is no fun: “We should not wish persecution upon ourselves, and it does us no good to always be thinking of it. However, if God would permit that we experience persecution, we pray that He grants us the grace that we may find the courage to live our faith without flinching”.

Doomsday PreppersIt is not uncommon to meet with Catholics who are more ready for the final persecution than they are willing to deny themselves presently, take up their cross and follow Jesus. They know everything about the purported three days of darkness, and have stocked up on blessed candles, etc. Some have even set up rooms at home for the private celebration of the Mass during the persecution. It is so crazy out here.

Our spirituality should not be rooted in vain preparation for persecution, final or not, but rather in the desire to go to heaven and be with Christ forever. We should not wish persecution upon ourselves, and it does us no good to always be thinking of it. However, if God would permit that we experience persecution, we pray that He grants us the grace that we may find the courage to live our faith without flinching.

True Preparation

Instead of raising our anxiety levels and those of others by constantly harping on the end-time persecution, we should spend more time building up on sources of strength and boldness that feed our resolution to firmly live the truth under all circumstances. We train ourselves daily in virtue rooted in the holy fear of God; we foster our desire for eternal glory. Keeping in mind that we are living members of the Mystical Body of which Christ is the Head, we spare no efforts to attain to holiness so as to be worthy of this Body in which we are united in bonds of grace and love. In this single Body, we must love one another; help one another and serve one another. In this way, we grow spiritually strong, ready for whatever trial God permits to come our way.

To Save Souls You Must be Holy

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor,

If the Prophet Isaiah were alive today,  I don’t think God’s message through him would be much different in our times.  First, we are instructed to “observe what is right.”  This means we take notice of the things around us, we see and perceive not just the surface, but what are the motives of our actions.  We discern and judge the moral weight of the situation we find ourselves in.  Then we seek what is proper and moral, ethical and honorable, we honestly seek what is right, good and true.  So that by our actions we execute, accomplish, and achieve the goal of our human existence namely, salvation in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.  To be just like God means we are virtuous, impartial, loving all equally, so that before men we are fair-minded in our attitudes, disciplined in our behavior, and give to others what they are due – namely dignity and respect . . . and to love as Christ loves.

And why do we do these things?

“Because our salvation is about to come . . .” Our means of deliverance from sins, is based solely on our willingness to forgive others, our means of escaping hell is based on our ability to love and show mercy.  If we ever hope to receive love and mercy from God, St. Teresa of Avila, the great Doctor of the Church on the spiritual life, firmly taught her sisters, that it would be most beneficial to your souls to learn and understand what Christ saved you from . . . namely eternal damnation in hell.

The Prophet warns us, “God’s justice is about to be revealed . . .” which means God is coming to give each person what they are due for a good or bad life.  What we think or what the world thinks no longer matters (if it ever did). Now what God thinks is our due is about to be revealed.  And we already know the standard of judgement that will be used against us.  Did we treat others the way Christ would have treated them?  Have we given to others as if they were Christ Himself?  Have we loved like God with the limited time we have been given?  This is the standard.  Did we live our lives like Jesus’ lived his, as a complete gift of self in service for others?

And so, we come to the conclusion that we need prayer.  God leads us there by saying to the Prophet, “For my house shall be called “a House of Prayer” for all people . . .”

When we come before this great and almighty Lord, who is our God, present here in the Tabernacle, is there a certain way we should conduct ourselves?

Yes!  Yes, there is! The Prophet Habakkuk taught, “The Lord is in His Holy Temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”  The prophet Zephaniah taught, “Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord, for the awesome day of the Lord’s judgment is near. The Lord has prepared His people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners.”  Even the book of Psalms makes reference to this, “Be silent in the Lord’s presence and wait patiently for Him.”  If the Old Testament was not enough guidance to tell us how we should act in the presence of God, we even receive similar advice from the Saints.  St. Faustina wrote in her diary, “A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others.”  Or St. Mother Teresa who taught her sisters, “God speaks in the silence of the heart.”  Or even the great Father, St. Ambrose, who taught, “What ought we to learn before everything else, but to be silent; so that then we might be able to speak.”

The correct posture before Our Lord is one of silence, because God does not raise His voice to be heard.  He only speaks in whispers.  Therefore, we must be patiently silent and carefully wait for Him to speak.  In the mean time, we observe and seek after the good, the true, and the beautiful.  These things make life on earth much more fulfilling, far happier, and rewarding.  Try and remember the famous, but forgotten, words of Robert Frost, “I took the road less traveled and it made all the difference.”

St. Paul gives us a great insight into the mind of God, “For God delivered all to disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all.”  As St. Paul also taught, in the Letter to the Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  So, all humanity is in need of His mercy.  We all need His love.  He is ever ready to give to us His forgiveness, but the process (at times) may not be so easy.  Look at the Gospel of St. Matthew (15:21-28).  A woman, a Gentile woman, comes begging for our Lord’s help to cure her daughter.  She does not ask for anything for herself, but her love for her daughter gives her the courage and the hope to approach Our Lord and get a favorable response.  What happens next?  “Jesus didn’t say a word in answer to her.” She is completely ignored by Jesus.  Ouch!  That should hurt us a little,  to hear our Lord treat her this way.  But, that does not stop her.  She persists in her calling out to Our Lord for assistance.

Now, even the Apostles are tired of her and say to Our Lord, “Get rid of her.”  No compassion or intercession even from Our Lord’s followers.  Finally, Jesus somewhat acknowledges her by
speaking about her to the Apostles, a clear indication that Jesus still does not want to speak to her directly, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel . . .”  Feeling somewhat acknowledged by our Lord, even though indirectly, she cries out, “Lord help me!” And instead of helping her, He appears to insult her, refers to her as a dog.  Is this a misprint?  Our Lord refers to someone as a DOG, no human dignity or respect in those words.  Oh, but this woman is not done.  Her love for her daughter moves her to even take Jesus’ insults and name calling.  The woman must have thought to herself, “Insult me, I don’t care, just as long as you help me.” And so she suffers it, to which our Lord responds, “. . . your great faith, . . . let it be done as YOU wish. . .”

Here we see again the great kindness and mercy of our Lord to help even when He clearly does not want to.  But, He does the will of the other, for the sake of the other.  Every week we come here
and hear of such great faith from those who were around Jesus when He lived on earth.  These events in the life of Jesus are meant to inspire us to great faith, to perform great acts of love in our lives.  The late Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, shortly before becoming a Catholic said, “I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, but where is the mark of holiness? where are the Saints?” Fantastic question!  Where are they?  Those who know me well, have heard me say many times, “I entered the seminary for fives years and when I came out, I could no longer find the Catholic Church.”  Where is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church? Where are Her saints? Why and where are they hiding?

To be able to persevere in right judgement, just thinking, to be silent and have a reverential fear before God. . .  To be humble and contrite, this is the path of holiness, the way of the Saints. Because God will have mercy on our human weakness, as long as we are faithful and persevere.  We do this because this is what will win us salvation.  It may not be the popular or the most rewarding or even the easiest way.  But, out of love for our God, we persevere in His ways if they are easy or not; if they cause us difficulty or not.  We don’t hide as Catholics.  We don’t run in fear. But, we fight for a better world for those we love.  We can no longer sit on our hands when faced with such evils that are in this world today.

Therefore, what do Catholics do?  We fight, as Pope Leo XIII, reminds us, “Catholics are made for combat.”  We were confirmed by the Holy Spirit to be soldiers.  Our best weapons are our Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration.  But, these are not, and should not be, the only weapons at our disposal.  We need to learn our faith so we can defend it.

In 1972, Bishop Fulton Sheen asked a very important question, that as Catholics we better wake up and listen to.  “Who is going to save our Church?” he asked.  His answer, “not our bishops, not our priests, and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church.  Your mission,” he continued, “is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like a bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

Well, all anyone has to do is take a good hard look at this diocese and see how this has not been the case for far too long.  This is why Bishop Sheen said, “to save souls we must be holy, for God does not use dirty tools.”  It would do us good to wake up quickly to God’s call to holiness, before the Church is completely gone from our society.

Therefore, listen carefully to the words Our Lord gives to us, words of great wisdom, power, and love.  Let us aspire to the greatness that is ours as Catholics and with great joy open our hearts to God’s call to authentic holiness, not only in our words and in our prayers, but most especially in our actions.

On This Day 400 Years Ago: St. Rose of Lima Entered Heaven

 

by Fr. Arnaud Devillers, FSSP, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Quincy, IL:  

Our Saint loved Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Catherine of Sienna and her guardian angel, with so fervent a love, that they, to reward her, often visited her, and conversed with her in a familiar manner. She had in this way learned that she should die on Saint Bartholomew’s day. Having attained her thirty-first year, she not only knew that her hour was come, but also that in her passage from life to death she must endure incredible torments.

On the first of August, she went to her room at night in perfect health; but at midnight she was heard crying and groaning piteously, and the wife of Don Gonzalez, to whose house she had removed before her illness, found her extended half dead on the floor, cold, without pulse, motionless, and scarcely breathing. The physicians came to visit her in that state, and with them her confessor, who, commanded her to describe to them her sufferings. “It seems,” said she, “as if a ball of fire were forced into my temples, that it descended to my feet, and passed across from my left side to my right with an insupportable heat – as if my heart were lacerated by a burning dagger; and the invisible hand which guides it pierces me sometimes from head to foot, and then crossing from side to side, engraves the figure of a cross on my body with this instrument, which burns me with all the violence of the hottest fire. I feel as if my bowels were being torn out with burning pincers, and my head burns as if heated coals, just taken from a flaming furnace, were placed upon it. In fact, I believe that when I die, my bones will be found reduced to ashes, and the marrow dried up, from the effects of the burning heat which I endure.”

Though she suffered so much, God preserved miraculously her mind sound and entire till her last breath. By a further favor He granted her the use of her tongue, to make known her thoughts till she died. She was often seen during this last illness, without any use of her outward senses, or in raptures in which her soul seemed to leave her body, to unite itself more closely with God.

During her final illness she usually confessed her sins every day; and to dispose herself better for death, she made a general confession of her whole life, with such marks of deep contrition, that her sighs and groans were heard in the room adjoining. On the third day she received the holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction. Almighty God had revealed to her that her soul, on leaving the body, would pass immediately to Heaven and would not have to suffer the pains of Purgatory. She said twice: “Jesus be with me, Jesus be with me.” and died. It was shortly after Midnight on August 24th, 1617, the feast of St. Bartholomew.

Why Can Demons Roam the Earth?

By Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission:

One of the more puzzling aspects of demonology is the freedom that Satan and demons appear to have in roaming the earth, causing trouble. If the condemned are consigned to Hell for all eternity, why is Satan allowed to wander about outside of Hell? Isn’t he supposed to be suffering in Hell along with his minions and the other condemned? Further, it doesn’t seem that he is suffering one bit, but rather having a grand time wreaking havoc on the earth. How do we answer such questions?

Some texts in Scripture do speak of Satan and the fallen angels as being cast into Hell:

  • God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment (2 Peter 2:4).
  • And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day (Jude 1:6).
  • Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, [likely a reference to the age of the Church and the going forth of the Gospel to all the nations] and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. (Rev 20:1-3).

Yet other texts speak of the fallen angels (demons) as being cast down to the earth:

  • But the dragon was not strong enough, and no longer was any place found in heaven for him and his angels. And the great dragon was hurled down—the ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Rev 12:8-9).
  • The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it” (Job 1:7).

Thus, though consigned to Hell, it would seem that some or all of the demons have the ability to roam the earth as well. Demons, however, do not have bodies and thus do not “roam the earth” the way we do. Their “roaming” is more an indication of their capacity to influence than their ability to move from one place to another. Further, Satan and demons are described as being “chained,” “in prison,” or “in darkness.” This is likely a way of indicating that their power to influence or “roam” is limited in some way. This does not say that they do not wield considerable power, just that it is not unbounded. If you think it is bad now, just imagine what it will be like when their power is unchained!

Near the end of the world, Scripture says that Satan will be wholly loosed and will come forth to deceive the nations for a while; after this brief period, he and the other fallen angels will be definitively cast into the lake of fire and their influence forever ended.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, … their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:7-10).

So for now, demons do have influence, but it is limited. At the end, their full fury will be unleashed, but this is only to bring about their final, complete defeat, after which they will be forever sequestered in the lake of fire.

Why God permits some demons the freedom to wander about the earth is mysterious. We know that God permits evil as a “necessary” condition of freedom for the rational creatures He has created. Angels and humans have free, rational souls; if our freedom is to mean anything, God must allow that some abuse it, even becoming sources of evil and temptation to others.

For us, this life amounts to a kind of test: God permits some degree of evil to flourish yet at the same time offers us the grace to overcome it. Further, there is the tradition implied in Scripture that for every angel that fell there were two who did not (Rev 12:4). Thus, we live not merely under the influence of demons, but also under the influence and care of angels.

On account of temptations and trials, our “yes” to God has greater dignity and merit than it would if we lived in a sin-free paradise.

As to Satan having “a good time” wreaking havoc, it would be too strong say that demons and Satan do not suffer at all. Demons, like human beings, suffer both victories and defeats; there are outcomes that delight them and those that disappoint and anger them.

Anyone who has ever attended an exorcism can attest that demons do suffer great deal, especially when the faithful pray and make pious use of sacraments and sacramentals (e.g., holy water, relics, blessed medals, rosaries). Faith and love are deeply disturbing to demons.

We all do well in the current dispensation to remember St. John Vianney’s teaching that Satan is like a chained dog: He may bark loudly and froth menacingly, but he can only bite us if we get too close. Keep your distance!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Guardian Angel

The New Theological Movement, by Father Ryan Erlenbush:

I am sure that most of us have many questions about our angel and how he works in the world – but where shall we ever find answers? At this point in our journey, rather than becoming discouraged or running off to many other sources, it would be best to place ourselves at the feet of the Angelic Doctor and hear what he has to tell us. The following question and answer study of the guardian angels is based on the Summa Theologica I, qq.50-64 (angels in themselves) and qq. 106-114 (angels in relation to creatures). ST I, q.113, is particularly enlightening, since it is a question devoted wholly to the guardianship of angels over human beings.

Guardian AngelDo I have a guardian angel? Yes, every human being has a guardian angel.

When did I receive my angel guardian? At the moment of conception. Your angel was given to you even before the graces of baptism! This is because angels are given to human beings on account of our reason, not on account of baptismal grace.

Was my angel someone else’s guardian before mine? Probably not. Every human being receives one angel. It is, however, theoretically possible (though not at all likely) that an angel could be re-assigned if their first human was condemned to hell.

Will my angel guardian be with me in the next life? If you go to heaven, your angel will be with you in glory as an eternal companion and friend. If you go to hell, your angel will leave you and you will receive instead a demon who will torment you forever.

Did my guardian angel know me before I was born? Yes. Not only by a natural angelic knowledge, but also by a special knowledge given by God – your angel has known you from the moment of his entrance into heaven after his creation.

Is my guardian angel an archangel? Almost certainly not. It seems that guardian angels are all chosen from the lowest choir of angels, which is called “Angels”. The Archangels are above this choir and seem not to be employed as angel guardians. It is possible that a guardian angel would receive help and guidance from archangels, or even seraphim.

Is my guardian with me always? Yes, your angel always watches over you because God always guides you with his providence. An angel is locally present when he acts as a complete and immediate cause on a body; thus, at times your angel might even be locally present to you. In any case, your angel is always spiritually present to your soul; unless you are condemned to hell after death.

Do my sins make my angel sad? Not really. Your angel enjoys the perfect vision of God and so cannot be sad; for all who see God are perfectly happy.  Just as God wills to permit you to sin, so too your angel permits your fall – this does not make him sad, for takes joy in God’s plan. Still, it is likely that your angel experiences a general displeasure at your sins.

Does my guardian angel fight with demons in my behalf? Of course! Consider the book of Tobit; Raphael saved Tobias from the demons tormenting Sarah.

Can my guardian angel work with other guardian angels to accomplish something great? Yes, indeed. Padre Pio regularly sent his guardian angel to work with other’s angels. The angels rejoice to work together for our greater good.

Does my guardian angel contend with other guardian angels? Yes, in a certain sense. The various guardian angels work on the most immediate level of guiding the human race. Thus, though all the angel guardians are wholly devoted to God’s plan; it is possible that there would be temporary or partial contrary movements in the way this plan is actually carried out. St. Thomas offers this as an interpretation of the division between Gabriel and the angel of Persia in the book of Daniel. As the Angelic Doctor says, “Angels are said to resist one another; not that their wills are in opposition, since they are all of one mind as to the fulfillment of the Divine decree; but that the things about which they seek knowledge are in opposition.” (ST I, q.113, a.8)

Can my angel guardian affect the physical world around me? Yes. St. Gemma Galgani would regularly ask her guardian angel to mail letters for her – many letters were sent back and forth to her spiritual director while he was in Rome.

Can I name my guardian angel? Perhaps, but we must keep in mind that it belongs to a superior to name an inferior. Thus, it seems unfitting that a human being should name an angel.

Does my angel have a name? Most certainly, God has named all his angels – or perhaps the higher angels have named the lower ones.

How do I find out my guardian angel’s name? You could try asking. But it is also possible that it will not be revealed to you immediately. I should think that in heaven, we would all know guardian angels’ names.

Is it possible to get too devoted to your angel? So long as you keep in mind that your angel is an expression of God’s love and providence (and not a being to be considered in isolation), there is no danger in having a very strong devotion to your guardian angel.

Did Christ have a guardian angel? Yes, like every other human, Christ had a guardian angel. It is likely that his angel guardian was the highest of all the angels in the lowest choir of angels.

Will the anti-Christ have an angel guardian? If he is a human being, he will have an angel guardian. Even though he will be a great enemy of God, the Lord will still love him – the expression of this love is the gift of a guardian angel.

How many angels are there who could be potential guardians? There are incomparably more angels than human beings. Thus, even though angel guardians are only chosen from the lowest choir of angles, it is likely that that choir has far more angels in it than the number of humans who have been, are, or will be. The only limit to the number of angel guardians is the number of humans, not the number of angels.

Do have a question about your guardian angel that isn’t listed? Ask it in a comment!

All you holy angel guardians, pray for us!

October 2nd, The Feast of the Guardian Angels

Slight editing.

The Power of the Green Scapular!

GREEN SCAPULAR STORY

By Fr. Richard Heilman, Roman Catholic Man:

I knew someone who was dating a girl he really loved. But, she was not at all interested in his faith. She thought religion was a sham. He didn’t know what to do, especially if he decided to marry her. He very much wanted a devout Catholic family. And, there seemed to be nothing he could say to open her heart to God.

I went over to a very special case I have and opened it up. Part of the case’s contents was a few Green Scapulars I had touched to over 160 first class relics of saints. I gave him one and explained he should hide it in a place she spends a lot of time in … chair, bed, car, etc.

He decided to tape it under her car.

It was almost immediately that he noticed a change in her. She became more inquisitive about his faith and more open to the possibility of this faith for her.

Then, one day, she found the scapular taped under her car. She figured it was him and, when she asked, he admitted placing it there, and explained it’s significance.

Instead of getting mad at him, she saw it as a thoughtful gesture.

She started carrying the scapular in her pocket at all times. And, most important, she started going to church with him.

Green Scapular Power … Just sayin’

Read about the Green Scapular HERE.