"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. “
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. “
I really don’t think that most of us have any idea how much spiritual warfare and demonic evilness is affecting our lives, and the state of our souls. It is hard to understand how something we cannot see or be physically aware of, can affect us in such extraordinary and destructive ways. Many of us do not even believe in such forces. The existence of Hell is denied by many clergy and religious as well as great thinkers in areas of science, medicine and philosophy. These influences can have great leverage on our own views and interpretations of Church teaching and Scripture references. I know that I myself was taught, while being involved in Catholic ministry, that the Devil is only symbolic for the evil in this world, and that Hell is merely our separation from God for all of eternity, not necessarily a physical place. As if separation from God for all of eternity is not a horrifying thought in and of itself. The ideas of Hell and Satan seem to be sugarcoated and the ideas of damnation and Hell pacified and alleviated into something that doesn’t seem a realistic consequence of an immoral and unjust life.
If we really look hard enough, it isn’t difficult to imagine that Satan and demonic spirits are at work in this world. The greatest triumph of Satan has been convincing us humans that he doesn’t exist. It is difficult to fight against something that doesn’t exist, isn’t it? That notion pretty much renders him omnipotent and us totally vulnerable to his despicable powers.
The fact that evil exists is a clue that so too does Satan and his demons. God is good, nothing but goodness comes from God. God is so good, and wants our unconditional and free offering of love to him so much that he allows the presence of evil to that end. Evil enters the world through pride and arrogance, and the rejection of him who made us. God wants us to love him for who he is, not for what he can give us. Our rejection of God for the notion of who we want him to be has perpetuated our Earthly existence since Adam and Eve decided that their way was the best way, not God’s way.
Satan fell at the beginning of time. Legend and some scholars contend that God’s salvific plan for us was the undoing of Satan. The thought of God condescending himself to human form and existence, and aligning himself with human creation therefor elevating that creation about the angelic was a situation Satan could not buy into. He therefor battles this plan and was thrust down onto the Earth by God’s loyal angelic army lead by Saint Michael. Ever since, he has deceived the human creations that God loves so intimately with his trickery veiled as suffering, illness, weakness and death in efforts to win souls for his benefit and domain instead of our Heavenly Father’s glory.
Many of us have and are falling for Satan’s diabolical plan. God values our free will so much and his desire for us to truly choose him can end In doom and damnation for many. God will allow us to walk away and deny what he has waiting for us. He will not manipulate us or force us to accept his love and his gifts of salvation. He is always there for us though. When and if we do decide to live his way, and accept his will, he waits with open arms.
Satan was very active and present during the life of Jesus. He was always with him, appearing and tempting during the most opportune times, taking advantage of the weakness present in Christ’s human nature.
Jesus falls three times on his way to the Cross. Each fall more brutal and devastating, just as the three falls of Satan will and have been. Satan’s first fall was his expulsion from Heaven before the creation of the world. His second fall was his head being crushed by the heel of the offspring of the woman clothed in the “Son”. During that fall Her Offspring ’s heel was bruised by the suffering and death of his Cross, but he was triumphant. Jesus turned Satan’s greatest weapon of death into life, an eternal and resurrected life.
The third fall of Satan will be at the end of time, when he will be banished to Hell for eternity and his reign here on Earth will end.
Hopefully he won’t take as many with him as it seems possible. His victory of many souls has been effective and victorious in many instances. His Earthly triumphs of destruction and evil have won many souls for his side. He is especially effective with the tools of tolerance and distorting the notions of mercy and justice. Those of us who don’t believe in his existence but follow his exhortations could be surprised by what death will bring us.
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."