When seeking to understand how evil can penetrate our psyche, how deeply rooted it can become within our existence, the stress to counter it may be bigger than most will want to address. However, evil does exist and in spite of our asking God to eliminate it the evil that we see daily in life’s trek gives us no solace.
Following excerpts from “The Teaching of Christ”; “The Mystery of Evil” Scripture tells us that God did not make death, and He does not delight in the death of the living (Wis. 1:13), it is pointing out that the infinitely good God does not take pleasure in the sorrows that He in His wisdom and mercy permits. God may indeed cause punishments or other purely physical evils for the sake of the greater goods He wills for us, and without His creative and sustaining powers no bad deed could be done; but never does He will or cause any moral evil or sin”.
“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a lion looking for someone to devour”. (1 Pt. 5: 8 - NAB). “That fallen spirits, like fallen humans, really exist and behave maliciously in this world is a teaching drawn from Scripture; “Then Jesus asked the demon, what is your name? He replied Legion (a multitude of sorts) because many demons had entered the man”. (cf Lk. 8: 30).
“The Church does not teach terror of Satan. It commends only a holy fear of God, and a fear of deliberately doing evil. For the influence of Satan is decisively subordinated to the power of God. As the Second Vatican Council recalled time and again, Christ has freed us from the power of Satan”.
From the CCC: “The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by doing their own thing”. (391)
“Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels”. “This fall consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign”. (392)
“It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels’ sin unforgivable. There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after dearth”. (393)
“The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his Kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries, of a spiritual nature, and directly, even of a physical nature, to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but we know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him”. (395)
Pinnacle of Evil; a point that is highest on which Satan’s presence has reached a downward trajectory along with his legion of demons, fallen angels, and souls of those who have chosen to turn away from God. Jesus Christ through the Paschal Mystery; Suffering, Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection has overcome death and the way to the Father without evil.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Lent-Easter 2019