Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Father Ignatius meets the devil

Father Ignatius faced a direct question from one of his parishioners.

"Father, do you think the devil can possess people these days?" she asked.

He had to be very careful with his response. The Bible, especially the New Testament, has many references of people being possessed by the devil and Jesus sending the devil away. Those accounts are sometimes very graphic saying that the victim was in some kind of fit, the devil speaking out against Jesus, and on one occasion a whole group of demons possessed a man and Jesus commanded them to leave the man and enter a herd of swine; which then perished off a cliff.

He said a silent prayer before answering.

"We Christians believe in the devil," he said, "we cannot possibly believe in God and Jesus and not believe in the devil. He exists all right. He is a fallen angel who rebelled against God. And God, let him and his followers go. Their role, it seems, is to tempt us away from God. The devil tried to tempt Jesus in the desert; so we should not be much of a challenge.

"Yes, I believe the devil can possess people these days. Our Church believes so. That is why they have appointed and trained many exorcist priests in our dioceses.

"Does the devil possess an individual as described in the Bible when Jesus healed such people? I have not had any personal experience of this. But I don't see why not.

"Does he possess people against their will?"

He stopped, noticing she was a little nervous. Maybe she had had some sort of personal experience. He chose to tread carefully.

"Let me put it another way, Georgina," he continued, "I have not heard of the devil possessing a devout Christian against their will. He will try to tempt them away from God, as I said earlier. Just as he tempted Jesus.

"But I doubt he can possess a devout believing Christian against his will. God would not allow it. It is not in God's interest to see such a person go to the other side, as it were!"

She smiled at his turn of phrase. He was relieved he had got over that point carefully but firmly.

"I believe the devil will try to influence people who are already leaning his way. You know ... people who do not believe in God. People who mock those who believe in God. People who encourage others not to believe in God.

"I doubt he would possess people in a spectacular way like described in the Bible; sending them into fits of rage and insults. That would not serve his cause well. If the devil acted so dramatically today, people would be frightened. They would certainly believe in him. And even turn against him. He is much more subtle now.

"Times have changed, and the devil has become modern ... with the times. He would slowly, patiently and carefully influence his followers to do his work for him. To sow the seeds of doubt. Of despair. To create worries and trouble amongst people. 

"There are many temptations these days in the world. I need not give you examples, Georgina," he continued, "and the devil, I believe, would use his followers, those already susceptible to his wiles, to use these temptations to draw people away from God."

He noticed her wince. He continued, treading carefully.

"What prompted this question about the devil possessing people anyway?" he asked with a smile to deflate the seriousness of the question.

"Well ..." she hesitated, "there is this woman I know. I believe she is evil. I sometimes believe she is the devil himself. As you say, Father ... she often causes trouble. Starts an argument about people at work; or when we're in the pub. She lies also ... she tells you something about someone that is not true to make you change your mind about that person. Then she tells someone else something about you so they don't like you as well.

"As a result people don't know what to believe, but their relationships, which may have been friendly at first, are now all changed with suspicions and doubts and broken trust.

"She even came between a friend of mine and her fiancé. She tempted him and I believe she tried to take him to bed by performing a strip tease for him. When he resisted, she spread a rumour that they had an affair together.

"Now the couple have split up. I believe it was a lie, Father. He would not do such a thing. But his girlfriend is full of doubts and for now ... the wedding is off!"

He noticed her hands twisting the handkerchief she was holding. He felt that tact should take a holiday for a while and the direct approach was needed.

"Why have you called the wedding off?" he asked.

She started crying wiping her tears with the handkerchief. He waited patiently. Saying nothing but praying silently.

When she calmed down he asked, "Do you love him?"

She nodded.

"Do you trust him?" he asked again.

She nodded once more.

"Do you want to spend your life with him?"

She nodded wiping her eyes.

"Well, that's a good reason to call off the wedding," he said.

She laughed ... he smiled too.

Then he said, "Look Georgina ... I do not know if this woman you mention is possessed by the devil or not. Or whether she is influenced by the devil to sow discord and hopelessness around her. Yes ... some people do seem to do the devil's work for him. I cannot tell in this case.

"But I do know that she managed at least to come between you and your husband to be. Not enough it seems to make you stop loving him and trusting him. But she did cause some damage at least.

"I believe the whole of God's Creation is based on love. He loved us so much that He sacrificed His Son for us. When love is destroyed the devil is satisfied."

He waited for a few seconds of silence and then added:

"You have a decision to make ... and so has Kevin. Are you going to let that woman win? Are you going to let the devil win? Because, whether he influenced her or not, he is certainly happy at your crisis right now ... it is his first step to come back later and try to tempt you and Kevin some more.

"I think you should go and speak with Kevin. Tell him what you feel. Tell him what you told me. If needs be ... come both of you here and we'll discuss matters further."

She left with a lighter heart than when she first came to see Father Ignatius.

The wedding is in four months' time.


  1. I love a happy ending. This time the devil didn't win.

    Thank you for joining the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Wordless Wednesday. ♥

  2. A good conversation and a happy ending. Growing up, th nuns and priests always put fear in to us if the devil tempted us. It made all of us kids afraid. I still don't know if that way was the right one. Scaring kids can leave life long scars. I prefer your example much better. Thanks, Victor!

    1. The thing is, Bill. Times have changed. In the Old Days, when I was knee-high to Adam and Eve, the priests used to preach about hell fire and damnation and the gnashing of teeth. Those without teeth would have dentures provided.

      These days people don't seem to believe in anything. I doubt many believe in hell, the devil, or Satan ... yet they all hope and believe they are going to Heaven!

      God bless you always my friend. May you be in Heaven a full half-hour before the devil knows you're dead.

  3. I love Happy Endings! How I can empathize -- not necessarily with Georgina, but Satan's subtleties. Stupid he is not.

    I've a question for you, Victor. As was portrayed in the (fictional) book, The Omen ... do you believe, like God, it was also possible for Satan to send his son here to earth?

    1. I believe that what is possible for Satan is within the limitations imposed on him by God. The devil (Satan/Lucifer) rebelled against God. In His love, and mercy, and forgiveness, I believe that God let him be - He let him and his followers leave Paradise/Heaven; rather than crush him there and then.

      Satan is not alone,(I believe there are many evil spirits - the example I give in this story says that at least 2000 had possessed the man whom Jesus helped). Every so often Satan and his followers are allowed free rein to roam the world and cause chaos. Look at the state of the world today! But this roaming free is within set parameters and limitations imposed by God. For example, I do not believe that God would allow His followers, His own devout believers to come to unnecessary harm at the hand of the devil.

      So to answer your question; I do not see why Satan could not send his son to earth - if God allows it. After all, Satan is here on earth right now and roaming the world as an evil spirit; so why not his son or anyone else Satan needs to push forward his agenda.

      Additionally, I believe Satan can use human beings to further his ambitions. As mentioned in the story; this would not be in a dramatic way such as possessing someone and making them have a fit as in the Bible. This is counter-productive in today's world and would only make people believe in the devil; and turn against him. The devil/Satan is more subtle. He use people to do his work for him in a subtly, slow, careful way. I have seen and known such people, Mevely. People who cause discord, ill-feelings and enmity for no good reason, and for no benefit or profit to themselves. They just cause trouble, sometimes real evil, for no reason at all.

      I have often wondered, why do they do this? What benefit is it to them to cause such mayhem and suffering to others. The only conclusion I can think of is that they do it because ... the devil told them to. Like the story above - the woman tempted the man with a strip tease not because she wanted him; but because she could do it, get away with it, and divide two people who loved each other.

      God is love. When love dies the devil is satisfied.

      Sorry for such a long response, Mevely. God bless.

    2. Please, no apologies! Thank you for your thoughtful, easily-understood response. This is a keeper.

    3. Do angels, or fallen angels, (Satan) have children? It would be my understanding of the Scripture that they don't. I'm seen that analogy in cults, and fictional writings. God will never let something happen against his Nature and plan that was set before time began. Just a thought!

    4. A good point. I really don't know if Satan had children.

      God bless.

  4. Father Ignatius is a very wise counselor. His insight, and perception is a great help in ministry. To see the ROOT problem, and not the FRUIT problem. I think counselling is one of the hardest things we face in ministry. I'm sure you know that very well.

    1. I agree, Wanda. It is very difficult, I guess, for a counsellor/minister/priest to advise without getting involved.

      God bless always.

  5. I do believe that the devil can posses people but not people who have accepted Jesus as their Savior because we are then indwelt by the Holy Spirit who protects us.
    I also believe just as there are Angels on earth there are demons too!

    1. Agreed. Yes there are demons/spirits and they can possess people against their wishes. Unless the person is protected by God and the Holy Trinity.

      God bless, Happyone

  6. Very smart answers. There have been people i have known who were evil, and even if they were not possessed in the traditional sense, were certainly highly influenced by evil spirits and tried to harm people. They used to look at me with such hate in their eyes! They knew how much i love The Lord and hated me for it.

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Mimi. Especially the hate in their eyes; I've seen it too.

      God bless you my friend.

  7. I like a happy ending!

    All the best Jan

    1. I ws going to say the same thing :-)

    2. Yes ... me too ... but life is not always happy endings. Not if the devil has his way.

      God bless Jan and Kathy.



God bless you.