Beware of demonic assaults

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT gospel episode where a demoniac approached Christ who was at that time preaching in the synagogue, asking him, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God!” clearly shows us that devils exist, but they can do no harm before the power of Christ. (cfr. Lk 4,31-37)

We should therefore not be too alarmed about this possibility of demonic possessions, cases of which seem to be increasing these days. But neither should we just sit pretty before this possibility. We have to be most wary of it, especially when we happen to enjoy a lot of privileges, power, fame, etc., that, unless referred to God and to our duty to love everyone, can only spoil us and make us vulnerable to the devil’s tricks.

We should never take the devils for granted. They are always around, ever scheming and plotting against us in many, many ways, and often in a manner that is so subtle that we may not even notice him. As St. Peter would put in his first letter: “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” (5,8)

We should never consider the devils as a myth, or as some kind of literary device only to highlight a point in the drama of our life. They are as real as you and me. Our problem is that we think lightly or, worse, falsely of them. And so we become completely unprepared to deal with their antics.

But in spite of that unfortunate fact of life, we should remember that the devils cannot do anything against us unless allowed by God. And if allowed, it is because God in his mysterious providence can always draw a greater good from any evil the devils may cause in us.

Just the same, we should always be guarded against them, especially when we happen to enjoy a lot of privileges in life. That’s because these privileges, like some power we may wield, if not referred to God and to our duty to love everyone, irrespective of how they are, can only spoil us and make us vulnerable to the antics of the devils.

These privileges have to be handled most delicately, with great humility. In other words, they always have to be related to God from whom all power and authority on earth comes. (cfr. Rom 13,1) They should be used always with God in mind and in heart. Otherwise, there is no way for them to go other than to be abused. Let’s remember that the only thing we are capable of doing without God is to sin.

Let’s never forget that when we are vested with power, with better endowments than those of others, we have to see to it that such privilege will always attract temptations of abusing it. It is like a magnet for temptations. Thus, we have to be prepared for this condition in our life.

To know how to exercise whatever power and authority we have according to God’s will and mind, all we have to do is to look at Christ, imitate him and unite ourselves to him. From him we can learn that precious lesson that whatever privileges and power we have are meant for us to serve and not to be served. This is how we can avoid demonic possession.