“ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
His nature is angelic although irreversibly corrupted and evil by rebellion.
Catechism of the Catholic Church # 414
“ Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive”
Catechism of the Catholic Church # 391
“ Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil". 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 their own doing.“
The devil is called in the scriptures “evil spirit” 76 times.
The word demon is used 63 times
Satan and Devil both are found 36 times
The devil is mentioned 211 times in the New Testament .
What is the difference between The devil and demons?
“ The precise distinction between the two terms in ecclesiastical usage may be seen in the phrase used in the decree of the Fourth Lateran Council: "Diabolus enim et alii daemones" (The devil and the other demons), i.e. all are demons, and the chief of the demons is called the devil.”
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia
Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter “Parati Semper”
“ There is no need to be afraid to call the first agent of evil by his name: The Evil One. The strategy which he used and continues to use is that of not revealing himself, so that the evil implanted by him from the beginning may receive its development from man himself, from systems and from relationships between individuals, from classes and nations--- so as also to become ever more ‘structural’ sin, ever less identifiable as ‘personal’ sin. In other words, so that man may truly feel in a certain sense ‘freed’ from sin but at the same time ever more deeply immersed in it.”
“ It is contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the Church to refuse to recognize the existence of such a reality the devil…or to explain it as pseudo-reality, a conceptual and fanciful personification of the unknown causes of our misfortune”
L’Obsservatore Romano November 23, 1972
The Testimony of the Scriptures The Fathers of the Church interpreted this passage of Isaiah referring to the King of Babylon as having a double meaning. In their view this passage referred to Satan Isaiah 14: 12-16 The devil is a fallen angel 1 John 3: 8 Jesus came to destroy the Works of the devil Revelation 12:9 The devil’s expulsion from the presence of God Genesis 3:14-16 The devil a being cursed by God Wisdom 2:23-24 The devil as a facilitator of Evil and death Zechariah 3:1-5 The devil as an Adversary of God and his plan Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7 The devil as an Enemy of mankind
St. Thomas Aquinas explains, they desired to be liked God in the sense that they wanted to attain their final end and perfect happiness through their own powers. And this is what constitutes pride: not to submit to one’s superior when submission is due (cf. ST,I, 63,3 ).
In other words, rejecting God’s dominion, they turned in on themselves in a sin of self-idolatry.
“ Pride is the reservoir of sin, a source which runs over with vice”
The sin of pride hypothesis was also held by Origen.
John Paul II states, “Instead of accepting a God full of love, they rejected him, inspired by a false sense of self-sufficiency, of aversion, and even hatred that is changed into rebellion”
L’Obsservtore Romano, July 28, 1986
The Fathers of the Church On the Jealousy and Envy of the Fallen angels
St. Justin, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Irenaeus, Lactantius and St. Gregory of Nissa espoused the view that the fallen angels were jealous and envious of humanity.
Fallen angels could not accept the fact that human beings who were created after the angels, should be created in the image of God and in charge over all creatures of the earth.
A Third hypothesis Jealousy and envy of mankind due to the Incarnation of the Son of God
Dominican priest Ambrose Catarino and Jesuit priest Francis Suarez in the 16 th century advocated the view that the fall of the angels was due to jealousy of the Incarnation of the Son of God.
They knew by an antecedent revelation that they would be expected to adore Christ, the God-man, something they refused to do.
Immediately, after their sin the fallen angels were condemned to “the eternal fire prepared for devil and his angels.” Matthew 25: 46
“ Their torture will not stop, day or night, forever and ever” Revelation 20:10
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
The teaching of the eternity of hell was issued by the Ecumenical Lateran council in 1215. The Second Vatican Council also referred to the eternal fire of hell in the constitution Lumen Gentium 7. 48.
St. Thomas Aquinas On the Eternal Damnation of the fallen angels
Before their fall the angels had full freedom of choice, but not afterward. In this respect they differ from human beings who, because they are less perfect creatures, can change even after they have made a choice.
The influence of the evil one can conceal itself in a more profound and effective way: it is in his interests to make himself “unknown.” Satan has the skill in the world to induce people to deny his existence in the name of rationalism and of every other system of thought which seeks all possible means to avoid recognizing his activity. L’ Obsservatore Romano, August 20, 1986
The devil is by nature superior to humans but still a finite creature with limited power and subjected to the will of God.
The first limitation of the devil is that he cannot transcend created nature.
He cannot, for instance, perform miracles. For miracles require supernatural power, the power of the devil is only preternatural. Only God can perform miracles.
The word preternatural refer to the condition that is not proper to human nature but still below the supernatural or divine. Man due to sin lost his preternatural gifts. An example of preternatural gift is immortality.
The second limitation of the power of the Devil comes from divine intervention. “God protects and governs by his providence all things which he created, ‘reaching from end to end mightily and ordering all things sweetly’ (wisdom 8:1)” (Dei Filius, First Vatican Council)
St. Paul says: “God keeps his promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 10:13
St. Bonaventure says “The cruelty of the devil is such that he would devour us at any moment if the divine power did not protect us.” (Diaeta Salutis).
St. Augustine said: “If the devil could do everything he wanted, there would not remain a single living human being on earth.”
“ The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation, which leads to sin and death.
We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a "delight to the eyes" and desirable, when in reality its fruit is death.
God does not want to impose the good, but wants free beings. . . . There is a certain usefulness to temptation. No one but God knows what our soul has received from him, not even we ourselves. But temptation reveals it in order to teach us to know ourselves, and in this way we discover our evil inclinations and are obliged to give thanks for the goods that temptation has revealed to us.
“ The devil in spite of himself, becomes, as it were, an instrument and coefficient of holiness.”
Now, however, "we walk by faith, not by sight"; we perceive God as "in a mirror, dimly" and only "in part". Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test.
The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.
“ The thoughts and impulses that come from our own ego are experienced as our own; we recognize ourselves in them; we meet our own vices and evil inclinations. On the other hand, thoughts suggested by the devil are experienced as coming from another ‘ego’ different from ours; that is, from another personality that on its own initiative speaks to us and proposes ideas or projects that we experience as new and foreign to our customary habits and inclinations” G. Cavalcoli
Msgr. Corrado Balducci in reference to diabolican temptatiion says:
“ The goal of diabolical temptation is to separate the individual from God and to keep him or her in that state until he has destroyed the fundamental values and sentiments of justice and love that the Creator has implanted in the human heart. Then soul that was meant to be the temple of the Trinity ends up as the dwelling place of the devil. After that, the individual can eventually become a child of Satan, a bearer of evil, a devil incarnate.”
#1673 “When the Church asks publicly and authoritatively in the name of Jesus Christ that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion, it is called exorcism.
Jesus performed exorcisms and from him the Church has received the power and office of exorcizing. In a simple form, exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism.
The solemn exorcism, called "a major exorcism," can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. The priest must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church.
Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Illness, especially psychological illness, is a very different matter; treating this is the concern of medical science. Therefore, before an exorcism is performed, it is important to ascertain that one is dealing with the presence of the Evil One, and not an illness.”
Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
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