Luke chapter 4, verse 1
Many, if not most of us, find the subject of belief in Satan to be a little embarrassing. Even among convinced and committed Christians, Satan is generally considered as being a symbolic personification of evil, little more than a figure of speech. But this constitutes a serious deviation from explicit doctrine.
The first Vatican council is very clear in its affirmation of the fact that Creation involves two distinct levels of intellectual beings, angelic and human, and they have much in common. From the beginning, both were endowed with intelligence and free will and thus the capability to love and to hate. Revelation tells us that both underwent a test for they, like us, were created for happiness and we all know that there is no happiness without love, and no love without free will, and that free will implies choice and choice implies a test. Some of the angels failed this test and rebelled against God. As pure spirits their act of rebellion, or, as we call it, sin could only be of an intellectual nature and such, of course, is the nature of pride.
Among those beings who turned away from God was one whose intellectual powers were even greater than those of his followers and whose pride was correspondingly great. It is he whom we call, as did Christ, Satan.
Does all of this sound a little like a fairytale? Does it sound unsophisticated in the space age? Perhaps it does, but does the fallacy lie in the reality of Satan as found in Revelation or in the thinking of modern men and women who, blinded by the pride we have in our expanding scientific knowledge, simply cannot see beyond themselves?
That such creatures, both angels and devils, could have an influence on us should be readily acceptable in the 21st. century. Think about it. They have an intellect and a will but no body. We have an intellect and a will but also a body. Among ourselves, the body is generally vital to communication, but not necessarily so! Extra-sensory perception or communication without reference to the physical senses is now an established scientific fact. Open the door to communication and you open the door to INFLUENCE.
Those spirits, who have rejected God in their desire to be equal to Him, influence us to reject Him too.
In his book, "THE EXORCIST," William Blatty has one of the priests express this diabolical motivation in a beautiful sentence which, I think, has its origin in Cardinal Newman's "SECOND SPRING."
"They wish us to see ourselves as being ultimately bestial... As vile and putrescent... Without dignity...ugly...unworthy. And there lies the heart of it. In unworthiness, for I believe that faith in God is not a matter of reason at all. I think it finally is a matter of love...of accepting the possibility that God could love us."
Surely this is the mission of Satan: to cultivate every human weakness, to make us look so bad in our own eyes that in the end we reject the author of life itself.
How blind we have been not to have seen that so often it has been Satan who has called the dance! Jesus, in referring to Satanic influence, spoke of Satan as being the prince of the world.
Look at our world. On the one hand unprecedented potential to feed, clothe, house and challenge humanity. On the other, war, violence, hatred, cruelty, poverty...the offspring of pride and uncontrolled passion and greed. Is this the work of Satan alone? NO! We, as intelligent creatures, are capable of sin without any outside help. But there can be no doubt that the suggestive power of Satan has had a large part to play in the miseries of our race. To be conscious of this is, in itself, a beginning. The next step is an adequate defence for us and for the world at large. Jesus Christ.
It is time to give serious consideration to the facts of life as revealed in the Book of Life. The voice of Satan is a reality. We hear it and heed it much more frequently than we realize. The answer to that voice is the unqualified answer of Jesus: "Away with you Satan, it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and serve none but Him." Ref: Luke Chapter 4, verse I ff.