There's a lot of talk about demons in today's readings. Being possessed by demons, talking to demons, driving out demons . . . .
We don't exactly walk around these days witnessing sidewalk exorcisms. But spiritual warfare is still alive and well. In the Biblical era, when God was so publicly revered, these demons often needed to be "seen" to stand a chance. But in today's society where God is often both rejected and sought to be made invisible, these demons—and indeed Satan himself—are happy to also remain invisible while carrying out their ghastly work. The more obscure the “ideas” of God and Satan become in our society, the easier it is for Satan to fly under the radar.
And from the advent of moral relativism to the denial that hell and Satan even exist, it's clear that the Prince of Darkness and his legions are quietly yet absolutely getting somewhere.
But there is good news! God wins in the end. His Word says so. We see what happens in today's readings every time the demons and humans encounter Jesus. The demons hate it, because they have no choice but to bow to His authority and be banished back to hell. And the people? They are saved. They are healed. They are restored. Sisters, the same happens whenever the powers of darkness encounter God's presence in us. With God on our team, we’re more powerful than the evil that tempts us. Always.
In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, Saint Therese of Lisieux talks about a powerful dream she had as a very young girl. She dreamed she was walking in her garden when she saw two little "devils."
Suddenly they cast their flaming eyes on me, but just at the same time, looking more scared than I was, they jumped off the barrel and went and hid in the laundry that was just across the way.
. . . I think that God allowed me to remember it in order to prove to me that a soul in the state of grace has nothing to fear from demons, who are cowards, capable of running from a child’s glance.
The key, friends, is acknowledging both the reality of spiritual warfare and the absolute authority of Jesus. Satan will always be trying to slip through the cracks at our weak points, but Jesus will always be ready and willing to stand between as our defender, ready to banish the forces of evil from our sight. We just have to speak His name.
What temptations are you weakest in trying to resist? Don't let Satan get away with it! Try to go to Reconciliation sometime this week (or at least schedule it!), knowing that the forces of darkness will be terrified of your soul in a state of grace. And anytime you feel especially tempted, speak the name of Jesus and know that evil will have no choice but to flee at the authority of His name!
Speak His Name.
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and former soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.