Satan Is Real and Alive!

The Simple Truth,
If You Do Not Believe In Satan,
Then You Will Not Believe In God!

Read this edited version revealed by Archbishop Charles Chaput to the Fifth Symposium Rome: Priests and Laity on Mission.  Full Version Here

Satan Tempting Jesus

Satan Tempting Jesus

It is very odd that in the wake of the bloodiest century in history – a century when tens of millions of human beings were shot, starved, gassed and incinerated with superhuman ingenuity – even many religious leaders are embarrassed to talk about the devil. In fact, it is more than odd. It is revealing. Mass murder and exquisitely organized cruelty are not just really big “mental health” problems. They are sins that cry out to heaven for justice, and they carry the fingerprints of an Intelligence who is personal, gifted, calculating and powerful.

The devil is only unbelievable if we imagine him as the black monster of medieval paintings, or think The Inferno is intended as a literal road map to hell. Satan was very real for Jesus. He was very real for Paul and the other great saints throughout history. And he is profoundly formidable. If we want a sense of the grandeur of the Fallen Angel before he fell, the violated genius of who Satan really is, we can take a hint from the Rilke poem The Angels:

. . . when they spread their wings
they waken a great wind through the land:
as though with his broad sculptor-hands
God was turning
the leaves of the dark book of the Beginning.

This is the kind of Being – once glorious, but then consumed by his own pride — who is now the Enemy of humanity. This is the Pure Spirit who betrayed his own greatness. This is the Intellect who hates the Incarnation because through it, God invites creatures of clay like you and me to take part in God’s own divinity. There is nothing sympathetic about Satan; only tragedy and loss and enduring, brilliant anger.

In 1929 the philosopher Raissa Maritain wrote.

“Lucifer has cast the strong though invisible net of illusion upon us. He makes one love the passing moment above eternity, uncertainty above truth. He persuades us that we can only love creatures by making Gods of them. He lulls us to sleep (and he interprets our dreams); he makes us work. Then does the spirit of man brood over stagnant waters. Not the least of the devil’s victories is to have convinced artists and poets that he is their necessary, inevitable collaborator and the guardian of their greatness. Grant him that, and soon you will grant him that Christianity is unpracticable. Thus does he reign in this world.”

If we do not believe in the devil, sooner or later we will not believe in God. We cannot cut Lucifer out of the ecology of salvation. Satan is not God’s equal. He is a created being subject to God and already, by the measure of eternity, defeated. Nonetheless, he is the first author of pride and rebellion, and the great seducer of man. Without him the Incarnation and Redemption do not make sense, and the cross is meaningless. Satan is real. There is no way around this simple truth.

We live in an age that imagines itself as post-modern and post-Christian. It is a time defined by noise, urgency, action, utility and a hunger for practical results. But there is nothing really new about any of this. I think St. Paul would find our age rather familiar. For all of the rhetoric about “hope and change” in our politics, our urgencies hide a deep unease about the future; a kind of well-manicured selfishness and despair.

The Emptiness Hurts

The world around us has a hole in its heart, and the emptiness hurts. Only God can fill it. In our baptism, God called each of us here today to be his agents in that work.  Like St. Paul, we need to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (Jas 1:22). We prove what we really believe by our willingness, or our refusal, to act on what we claim to believe.

You Are Being Called

We have an obligation as Catholics to study and understand the world around us. We have a duty not just to penetrate and engage it, but to convert it to Jesus Christ. That work belongs to all of us equally: clergy, laity and religious. We are missionaries. That is our primary vocation; it is hardwired into our identity as Christians. God calls each of us to different forms of service in his Church. But we are all equal in baptism. And we all share the same mission of bringing the Gospel to the world, and bringing the world to the Gospel.

The Real Issue is a Crisis of Faith

Our real issue is a crisis of faith. Do we believe in God or not? Are we on fire with a love for Jesus Christ, or not? Because if we are not, nothing else matters. If we are, then everything we need in order to do God’s work will follow, because he never abandons his people.

God calls us to leave here today and make disciples of all nations. But he calls us first to love him. If we do that, and do it zealously, with all our hearts – the rest will follow.

Archbishop Charles Chaput

St. Thomas Aquinas pray for us and our Priest.

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7 comments to Satan Is Real and Alive!

  • Gloria

    Please Dear Readers,Remember Satan is the father of lies.His mission is to steal destroy and kill us.Therefore turn your beautiful eyes apon Jesus and look him full in his face! God bless

  • withhope

    If only we had more truth like this. all the ‘well-manicured’ deceits crafted to confuse are so effective. I turned to Christ and His Church because finally understood that even if i’d been born with a moral compass, growing up in the 60s70s etc, utterly obliterated it. i had no moral compass. I have prayed/worked to conform what conscience I was given to the truth vouchsafed to us, but there’s nothing gives the formation of conscience blows and beatings like people with a voice of authority in Christ’s Church undermining and stifling His voice, mitigating it by doing deals with the enemy. ‘We are missionaries. That is our primary vocation’. this: is the exact opposite.

  • bev kuznixcki

    thank you Most Reverand Archbishop Chaput for putting the world straight. God would
    be so pleased with your comments. I am so grateful that you are in DENVER and speak
    as you do….We need more archbishops like Chaput to send a message. there is so
    much in the world that is sinful and wrong and satan loves it….however, our ARCHBISHOP is one of the best in the world….I will continue to pray for him in all
    he does as he is very right on…..

  • […] by electronic worship.  This technology abuse is causing spiritual disconnect and is providing a breeding ground for Satan, who thrives on anything that pulls us away from God.  Satan is real and active in our world […]

  • I really enjoyed reading your article. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m happy to see that I’m not alone in my viewpoint and insights.

  • Amanda Robert

    I usually agree with your article content, but in this case I am sorry to say that I do not share your views.

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