First of two parts
Demons or evils exist, not only in stories or movies. The exorcists of the Catholic Church will proclaim that they do. Scriptural imagery depicted them as black, grotesque figures with horns, tails, red, fiery eyes and with claws in black tights.
The scriptures simply describe them as “roaring lions seeking people to devour.”
But their existence is a defined dogma, from the Fourth Lateran Council as “by nature spirits created by God, so originally good, but fell into sin of their own free will and are eternally damned.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church repeated this description.
War in heaven
There was a war in heaven, “passionate, intense, terrifying war of wills, of minds,” said in Revelations 12:7-8.
Lucifer, the greatest of all angels, rebelled. One-third of the angels, according to an old tradition rebelled with Lucifer.
The war, in Christian version, as narrated by Peter Kreeft in Angels and Demons, started when God shared his plan to create man and incarnate himself as man—in Jesus.
Lucifer could not accept an “undignified plan to bow to a God of flesh and blood.”
“I will not serve.”
So he was banished from heaven. Saint Augustine said, “It is irrevocable choice and not God’s divine mercy that made the angels’ sin unforgivable.”
So Lucifer, the Light Bearer, became Satan, the accuser, and all his followers were thrown down to the Earth, according to Revelations 12:7-9.
An angel in disguise
That Lucifer is on Earth, 24/7, should be of utmost concern to anyone who values his spirituality. For, he is an adversary, like a roaring lion to lead one to sin (1 Peter 5:8), a tempter to induce those who preach about God (1 Thessalonians 3:5), a deceiver mouthing clever lies (2 Corinthians 11:3), a hinderer to prevent visits to those who share the faith (1 Thessalonians 2:18), keeps mind in the dark about God’s goodness (2 Corinthians 4:4) and a spiritual power who control people who follow the world’s evil ways (2 Ephesians 2:2).
God speaks in silence and in a world drowned by noise, warning men about the wiles of the Evil One. Jesus warning man whom to fear said: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot afterward do anything worse…. Fear God who has the authority into hell” (Luke 12:4-5).
Sin is defined as “refusal of God’s love,” thus, egoism and “absolute slavery to matter.”
Man commits sin because of the self, world and Satan, according to moral theologians. The flesh means the nature of man—lustful and continuously craving for self-gratification.
The world is planet Earth. It is the world that offers material things to fulfil his cravings for a leisurely and comfortable life—money, fame and power. The world presents varied and limitless opportunities for man to scale the ladder of success.
Because the world is continuously fashioned to cater to man’s unending desires, Satan relentlessly tempts man to sin in matters of greed, pride, envy, jealousy, hatred and resentments.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola likens him to an army commander who continuously studies man’s personality, his strength and weaknesses, and attacks during his weakest points or in dilemma.
During unguarded moments, man can be boastful, unforgiving, vain, selfish and lustful.
Although God has endowed man with a free will or liberty of choice, so by choice he can opt not to sin, his adversary the devil, 24/7, is on the lookout.
Satan influences him to make preferences, clouding his mind, especially if he is not in the state of grace to make sinful choices.
“All temptations of spiritual and physiological life, human and social, are caused by the flesh,” to allure men to their favorite or preferred vices.
Pope Paul VI calls Satan the “sophistic insidiator” of the moral equilibrium of mankind.
To be concluded
Santiago is a former regional director of the Department of Education National Capital Region. She is currently a faculty member of Mater Redemptoris Collegium in Calauan, Laguna, and Mater Redemptoris College in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.