The Holy Father, Pope Francis has outlined seven ways Christians can use to defeat and counter the evil machinations of the devil, pointing out that “When we let down our guard, the devil takes advantage of it and destroys our lives The Holy Father’s propositions are contained in his recent Apostolic Exhortation released by the Vatican, recently. The document which primarily focuses on holiness of life is titled Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad).
Noting that Christian life is a constant battle, the Catholic Pontiff outlined the devil attack antidotes to include: “understanding who you are dealing with, turning to God-given weapons, always relying on God’s words, not Satan’s promises and not fighting the devil by “yourself”. Other tips given by the Pope are: remaining humble; be fully committed and doing good always.
On the issue of understanding who the devil is; Pope Francis stated that people must know that Satan is very real; and a supernatural understanding is needed in this respect. The Pope writes that there is “a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil. We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea. This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.”
He added that the spiritual battle cannot “be reduced to the struggle against our human weaknesses and proclivities — be they laziness, lust, envy, jealousy or any others. It is also a constant struggle against the devil, the prince of evil. His words: “The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy, and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families, and our communities. He is present in the very first pages of the Scriptures,” he says but is quick to add that the story ends “with God’s victory over the devil.”
On turning to God-given weapons, Pope Francis declared: “For this spiritual combat, we can count on the powerful weapons that the Lord has given us - faith-filled prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of Mass, Eucharistic adoration, sacramental Reconciliation”. He added that there is protection by living “in Christ” because “the false promises of evil will easily seduce us if we become careless.”
On the need to always rely on God’s words, not Satan’s promises, Pope Francis referred to the warning in the Bible about “wiles of the devil” and went on to quote Saint Father Jose Brochero, saying, “What good is it when Lucifer promises you freedom and showers you with all his benefits if those benefits are false, deceptive and poisonous?”
Pope Francis then urges Christians to fight spiritual battles in collaboration with others, adding that this is what the church is for. His words: “When we live apart from others, it is very difficult to fight against concupiscence, the snares, and temptations of the devil and the selfishness of the world.” Pointing out that “Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others;” the Holy Father added: “Alone, we easily succumb. The Pope also spoke on the importance of humility, total commitment to counterbalance evil and doing good always as other weapons for fighting and defeating the devil, warning against prideful and self-congratulatory charity.
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