The Devil never runs upon a man to seize him with his claws until he sees him on the ground, already having fallen by his own will.
--Saint Thomas More
In these times of “religious freedom”, recently there has been a stir about the occult doing ceremonies open to the public. For the first time since the barbaric pre-christian religions, Satan's been bold enough to enter into the public arena. A truly Christian society would have exiled the promoters of this abominable sect, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, it is fairly obvious by now that America is no Christian society. With regard to the black mass, I was not surprised by the fact that the occult has come out into the public view. I was surprised, however, by the fact that it was covered by so many major media outlets, and also the widespread popularity/discussion it caused on Facebook. As Catholics, we know that the devil exists. Satan is not merely a metaphoric representation of evil made up by the authors of the Bible, as is suggested by some who work tirelessly to further the devil’s ends. He is indeed real. But should we fear him?
The answer is simpler than you might think. The devil is like a rabid dog who is tied up to a fence or a tree. He cannot cause us injury or harm unless we get close enough for him to reach us. This analogy is true in every sense. Jesus, through his death upon the cross, defeated Satan, who was lord of the earth before Christ’s coming. Satan is now tied down, and cannot reach human beings unless we get too close to him by our own free will. There are three principle ways we can get too close to the devil and open ourselves up to oppression and possession by him. First, direct interactions with demons, including séances, consulting seers or the Ouija board, or attending occult ceremonies. Second, by becoming overly interested in demonology (including literature, movies, etc.). Third, by committing, condoning, or defending abominable sins of the flesh. However, the purpose of this article is not to delve into how we can open ourselves up to the devil; this article is about how we can protect ourselves from him and more principally his temptations, which lead us away from God, and towards sin and spiritual death.
The first way to protect yourself: Staying in a state of sanctifying grace The state of grace means you are an adopted son or daughter of God. Nothing can harm you if you are in the shadow of God. stay close to Him and God will stay close to you and protect you from anything that is not of Himself. The principle way of staying close to God is remaining in a state of grace. Make sure you are in a state of grace by making a good Confession. God loves you, and wants you for Himself.
Second way: receive the sacraments often Nothing gives us more grace to repudiate temptations and resisting evil than sacramental actual grace. Just as sanctifying grace is the life of the soul, sacramental grace is the food and nourishment of the soul. Even for someone who is fully possessed by a demon, the principle way they rid themselves of the devil is by living a holy life and receiving the sacraments often. Yes, they do require an exorcism to drive the demon from them once and for all, but it is their choice of choosing God over the devil which ultimately frees them.
Third way: make use of sacramentals, principally blessed salt and holy water The Catholic Church gives us special aids in resisting and refuting the devil, and these are found in the sacramentals of the Church. A sacramental is defined in the Baltimore Catechism as "Anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart to remit venial sin." Those sacramentals with special power over demons are blessed salt and holy water. Both of these sacramentals are used in exorcism ceremonies, but they can be used for personal use as well. Easter water, a special kind of holy water which the priest blesses during the Easter vigil ceremony, is the most powerful of all the sacramentals in battling the devil. It was Christ’s rise from the dead that sealed the Devil’s fate as that of conquered, and therefore it makes sense that water blessed on the Easter vigil night has special cleansing power over demons. A good practice is to have near the doorway of the home a holy water font in order to first keep demons at bay from entering the home, and also to remind us of our human condition that we need God’s help in all things.
Fourth way: Pray the Rosary Because Mary took Lucifer's place in Heaven after the angelic fall, it only follows that Mary has powerful intercession against the devil. Saint Padre Pio used to say upwards of 15 Rosaries per day (and these were full rosaries; i.e. 15 decades) to defend himself from diabolical attacks, and God Himself said that Mary would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Therefore, it is most pleasing to God to pray the Rosary daily, and it is a sure means of defending oneself against diabolical attacks, whether physical or spiritual.
Conclusion So the answer to our question is this: we should not fear the devil. The Catholic Church has given us the guidlines we need in order to be saved, and in following these guidlines we will steer clear of Satan and his evil designs. A priest I knew was fond of saying, "one day each of us will be entirely possessed by either God or the Devil. It is our choice as to whose possession we shall be. Should we not work day and night to become the possession of God?" It is not the devil which chooses our ultimate end of heaven or hell, it is ourselves which do so. Let us pray for an increased distrust of self, the grace of obedience and the grace of a good and holy death, that we may be the possession of God for all of eternity. For the Glory of God and the Salvation of souls, Amen.