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The Psychology of the Devil Header


Using Sacred Scripture and other sources, certain aspects of the psychology of Satan and his wicked Angels can be understood.   
Although the devils have differences among themselves, they are alike in their desire to do evil and in their fallen nature. That is why, whatever is said about Satan, their chief, also applies to all devils.

 

A perverted will

The devils are pure spirits, since they are Angels. They do not have the weaknesses of men. From this, we understand why their revolt against God is permanent, immutable, eternal. Their will became perverted and fixed in evil after they abandoned the Highest Good as their objective. As a consequence, the devils do not wish anything but evil in all their voluntary acts and, even when they appear to do good (as, for example, when they restore someone's health, give riches, or teach something), it is only as a means to cause more evil, leading the person to final perdition, which is their ultimate wish for all men.

Since God created them good, their nature continues good in itself. However, their will became perverted. Instead of striving for the end for which they were created – the service and the glory of God – they do exactly the contrary. They do everything to impede God's glory. Since they cannot reach Him directly, they act upon God's creatures, within the limits He allows.

 

Murderer and liar – cunning, false, deceiver

Lucifer by Gustave DoreThe Divine Redeemer summed up the diabolic psychology thus: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jo 8, 44).

The devil is a murderer and the father of lies, the liar par excellence, who hates truth, because truth leads to God: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jo 14, 5). Satan hates the Creator. When he rejected God, he renounced to truth and life forever. And it is by the lie that he spread death, spiritual death.

About Our Lord's statement that the devil is a murderer and a liar, Saint Augustine says: "We ask how come the devil became a murderer from the beginning and we reply that he killed the first man, not slaying him with a sword, or causing any other harm to his body, but he persuaded him to sin and thus, cast him out of the happiness of the earthly paradise".

And Father Maldonado, an erudite Jesuit exegete from the XVI Century, says on this same phrase – ‘For he is a liar and the father of lies' (Jo 8, 44): "Most authors believe this refers to Satan's words to Eve: ‘You shall be as God, knowing good and evil' (Gen. 3, 5); for he evidently lied with these words; that is, he added the lie to the act of (spiritual) murder, committing two crimes, at the same time… and we call the devil father of lies because he is the author and the inventor of the lie, in such a way that we can say that he gave birth to it".

When he tempts man, trying to take him away from God, he lies presenting a false image of reality, hiding his true feelings and enmeshing his victim in error, sophisms and deceit.

 

He is a cunning, false, deceiver.

"Satan is distinguished by his guile – writes Monsignor Cristiani. Guile is a deceitful scheme. The being that acts with guile has bad intentions. If he speaks, it is not to say the truth, but to deceive, to lead to falsehood. Satan is treacherous, false. One cannot trust him. He lacks equity, loyalty, frankness. He is erroneous, voluntarily obscure and dissimulative."

 


(From Angels and Demons, by Luis Solimeo)

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 21, 2019

Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are alway...

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November 21

 

Make friends with the angels, who though
invisible are always with you.
Often invoke them,
constantly praise them, and make good use
of their help and assistance
in all your
temporal and spiritual affairs.


St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple

Mary asked if she might have the honor to be the servant of...

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The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple

On the feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary, we celebrate the fact that Our Lady’s parents brought her to the Temple at the age of three and handed her over to live there for a long period as a consecrated virgin where she might exclusively contemplate God.

There is a special beauty to this feast since it highlights the fact that Our Lady was chosen even before time began. She is called the root of Jesse (Isaiah, 11:1) from which Our Lord Jesus Christ would be born. She is introduced to the synagogue, the institution in charge of keeping this promise. Thus, the synagogue receives Our Lady as a first step. In this act, the hopes of ages would soon be fulfilled.

Our Lady, a supremely holy soul, is received in the Temple and entered into the service of God. Despite the corruption of the nation of Israel and the transformation of the Temple into a den of the Pharisees, an incomparable light appeared: the sanctity of Our Lady.

Unknowingly, Our Lady began to prepare herself to become the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In an atmosphere of grace in the Temple, she was set apart from everyone in order to serve God. She increased her love of God until she formed the ardent desire for the imminent coming of the Messiah and asked God if she might have the honor to be the servant of His Mother. She did not know that she was the one chosen for this honor. That is why she was perplexed when the Archangel Gabriel greeted her to ask her permission for the Incarnation.

Our Lady’s magnificent preparation to be the Mother of Jesus Christ began with her Presentation in the Temple, a feast the Church celebrates on November 21. It is fitting that we ask Our Lady to prepare us with the best of Catholic doctrine to serve God by serving her. We should present ourselves before Our Lady, asking her to assist us in taking up the task of our sanctification, as the Holy Ghost did with her in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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