We are called to do warfare against the evil one

We are called to do warfare against the veil one
The truth of the gospel is tart and bitter, but it is a necessary truth: the devil exists, so do evil spirits and they are all very powerful and cunning. This is something that, while living a life of prayer, we must count on.

Our Lord Jesus Christ encountered demons, destroyed their power and vanquished them. The Gospel speaks about this in many instances.

Now, if today you told someone that you were possessed by demons who torment you and tear your soul apart, or that you knew someone to whom this was happening, you would certainly be mocked and who knows what else. But evil spirits do exist, and as I said, so do their servants who are everywhere. If you open your eyes and look carefully, you will see a wide net spread by the hunters of human souls who tempt them with their “higher” knowledge and exclusive secrets. And the demon, who is full of wiles and cunningness, laughs at their weakness and, if I may say so, stupidity, for doing his work.

Ever since the world began a war for human souls is raging. He, who is the lord of darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12), like any experienced warrior, wants us to believe that he does not exist in order to dull our minds and lure us more easily into his snare. His agents tell us that demons are the fruit of certain people’s sick imagination and deformed minds. However, “there are individuals who are vigilant in their spiritual life and they have long ago noticed that their soul, which had been calm like a vast river flowing peacefully and majestically, suddenly becomes turbulent.

This turbulence is caused by a negative force which in turn causes the soul to falter under the attack of unclean thoughts and passionate desire. They feel as though someone is attacking their strongest foundation and their most sacred values. This shakes our faith from its very foundations while at the same time darkening and confusing our minds and in this confusion the treasury of our faith is more easily robbed. This force attacks a person with unclean and blasphemous thoughts just as he or she endeavors to do good and God-pleasing things, and the attack is so forceful that often the victim must struggle in sweat and with tears to withstand the attack. This evil force endeavors to manifest all things sacred and good as dark and unclean, concealing in darkness all that is light and beauty.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

Make no mistake, “in their extreme evil, the spirits of darkness are extremely cunning to do any kind of evil, as in the beginning they were given a higher intellect than human beings; also because they have inhabited this earth for a very long time. They never die and with time they gain access to more and more means of practicing evil, which is their life.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

In order to lure and entangle someone into his net, the devil often takes on different semblances. Sometimes he appears as a good and kind person, other times as an extremely attractive woman, but once a person has fallen into his trap he shows his real face, his true and ugly, deviant nature. It says even in the holy scriptures that Satan takes on the appearance of an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). So we understand now that constant spiritual vigilance and clear-mindedness is needed. The lives of the saints are full of impressive examples of their constant struggle with cunning demons, sometimes even of open physical struggle, fights and wrestling.

“Once a certain man of a very noble appearance came to St. Anthony the Great in the desert where the latter lived a life of spiritual struggle. The man then asked St. Anthony, “Father, will God forgive my sins? You know, I am a very sinful man before the Lord.” And St. Anthony answered and said, “Yes, He will, my son. No sin is greater and more powerful than God’s mercy.” “I know that,” aid the nobleman, “but my sins are so great that I have serious doubts that even God’s mercy would be able to wash them away.”

“If that is the case,” said St. Anthony, “then give me a week that I may converse with the Lord in prayer. Come after one week.” The mysterious visitor appeared again after seven days and asked, “Well, then, Father Anthony? What do you say, will God forgive my sins or not?” “He will,” answered St. Anthony. “But on one condition: you must stand on one leg for one whole day and cry, ‘I am the essence of evil and malice. I am a slaughterer of men since the beginning.’ Then the next day you must stand on your other leg and cry, ‘I am a lie and the father of lies.’ And on the third day you must stand and cry, ‘I am hatred incarnate and desire the devastation of mankind.’” “Not a chance, Father Anthony,” said the visitor. “If I were to do as you say, I would not be who I am!” We understand that the mysterious visitor was Satan himself.” (Lazar Milin)

“Besides proving the existence of demonic powers, the Bible asserts that they are extremely powerful. This is proved by the examples of the possessed individuals whom no one was ever able to subdue in any way. Even in the event that someone managed to chain them up, they would instantaneously break even iron chains.” (St. John of Kronstadt)

I, personally, will never forget an incident that I witnessed at the Tavna monastery. An old woman was brought to the monastery for the service of unction. Please believe me when I say that her hands were tied up with chains and the ends of these chains were fastened with steel clamps to poles driven into the floor. When Father Dimitry finished reading the prayers, the old woman left the monastery meek as a lamb. She would sometimes return to the monastery to offer thanks for her healing. This was not the only case of miraculous healing in this holy monastery.

So, what do we do? Do we become frightened, discouraged and allow ourselves to fall into the claws of the devil? Certainly not! We have been called to battle. You have all been present at baptisms and know that it is required of the godparents, or of the person being baptized if he or she is an adult, to renounce the devil three times, to spit on him and to step on him. In doing so, we announce war on the devil and this war is waged until the final victory. Anyone who has truly fought this war has won it, for God, our Lord, did not leave us unarmed. The weapons He has given us are humility, fasting and prayer (Matthew 17:21)

The weapon above all weapons is faith – faith in God who cares for us and who is always ready to help us, the God before whom all noetic powers tremble. We read how the possessed men fell at Christ’s feet, crying out in anguish and begging Him not to torment them. “Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)

They are well aware that they will be thrown into the fetters of the darkness of hades and kept there until the judgment (2 Peter 2:4) after which they will be thrown into the bottomless pit by an angel of God. (Revelation 20:10)