Does the devil exist? Is the devil real? Yes, he is. He is a pure spirit, who was once a good angel called Lucifer. However, his pride cost him his place in heaven. Jesus said that He saw satan fall like lightning from the sky, in Luke 10:18. Jesus also said that his mission on earth was "to defeat the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Satan has the advantage over us in that he is an invisible powerful spirit. One of his greatest tricks on us is to convince so many of us that he doesn’t even exist, truly a great wartime tactic. How powerful would Hitler have been if the Allies didn’t even know he existed? Archbishop Sheen once said that God’s name is “I AM WHO AM”, while the devil mocks God by saying “I am who am not”.
In the fourth chapter of Luke, Jesus was tempted by satan (the adversary) in the desert, three times. Satan’s great pride must have convinced him that he could even make God in human form fall. Satan even offered Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if he would fall down and worship him. This was hubris to the max, because the kingdoms of the world already belonged to God. Even though Jesus was tired and hungry, he stood up to satan’s verbal assaults of taking scripture out of context and trying to make Jesus fall. A good lesson for us all here is to never let someone take scripture out of context and make a point. Scripture must always be used in the context it was originally written, and not as a personal tool to win an argument.
Isaiah tells us a little more about the fall of satan, in Isaiah chapter 14, verse 12. Here we see how the morning star, Lucifer, lost his place in heaven and was banished to the earth. His plan was to infect Adam and Eve, and all mankind, with his sin of pride – “Ye shall be as gods”, it says in Genesis 3:5. Adam and Eve took the bait and sin and death thus entered the world. Some theologians conjecture that satan hates mankind so much because some of us will be taking the place of Lucifer and his followers in their heavenly seats. We should all know that whenever we sin seriously, satan and his minions get a toehold on our life, and the lives of our family members.
Since satan has finally figured out that he cannot get at God, he goes for His children here on earth – us. It’s no different than the mafia knowing that it can hurt you worse if it kills your kids. However, lucky for us that Jesus established a Church here on earth that regularly dispenses sanctifying grace to us, which is the only way we can defeat satan. Trying to defeat satan on our own without the grace of God would be like a wheelchair bound 95 year old invalid trying to outpunch the heavyweight champion of the world. Sanctifying Grace – Don’t leave home without it !
In the bible, Mark 5:9, Jesus talks to a man who is possessed by demons, some of satan’s followers who fell to earth with him, estimated to be a third of the total angels in heaven (Revelation 12:4). The demons told Jesus that their name was “Legion”, or many demons. Jesus cast them out into a herd of swine, who immediately threw themselves over a cliff.
In the book of Acts 19:13, there are some amateur exorcists who try expelling a demon from a possessed person on their own. The demon tells them that he doesn’t recognize them, and then starts fighting them. They fled in terror. The lesson here is that while we can all pray the Our Father (“deliver us from evil”) and bless our homes with holy water, real exorcisms are better left to the real experts. Father Gabriel Amorth is the exorcist of
Concerning spiritual warfare and immortal combat,
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the word of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication."
From the words of Paul, one can readily see that he considers the devil to be a real enemy.
While everyone is pretty familiar with demonic possession, as seen in “The Exorcist”, there are other levels his influence in our lives that are more subtle, such as physical pain, obsession, oppression, infestation, and subjugation. A great article on all of this is here . Your best defense against the devil is humility (the opposite of him) and being in the state of grace at all times. And please remember this - The devil is not a mind reader, but he does observe your actions, and he does listen to what you say. Bottom line - Be careful of what you say or what you jokingly wish for out loud (like illicit sex, for instance). You could be setting yourself up for a big fall if you let satan in on your personal sinful weaknesses and desires. He very probably will take action on what you wish for.
To sum up, the ways to defeat satan are simple. Avoid sin, fast occasionally, pray the St. Michael prayer as often as you can, as well as others, such as the Queen of Angels Prayer. Also try to receive the sacraments as often as possible, especially the sacrament of confession and the sacrament of Holy Communion. The graces received from frequent receptions of these two sacraments act as a flak jacket to satan’s attacks on us. Sacramentals, such as holy water, blessed salt, and blessed medals are also good tools to shoo him away. And say (meditate on) the rosary every day. Every day. Satan is not the opposite of God, although that is the pedestal he would like to put himself on. Mary, meek, mild, and humble, is the opposite of satan, and he fears her greatly. During exorcisms, the demons have revealed to exorcists that they are forbidden from making fun of or degrading Mary. She is the one human that they are very afraid of. It would seem that the enmity between “the woman” and the seed of satan talked about in Genesis 3 is indeed a reality today.
Remember, satan and his demons are very subtle. He's not going to come to you as he truly is, but in a very appealing disguise. The person or persons he will acquaint you with will mix lies with the truth to confuse you and to lead you away from the Church and the Eucharist. And it will all seem so right and pleasant to the earthly side of you. He will slowly but surely lead you into deeper and deeper sin, just like the frog that gets boiled one degree at a time. However, never forget that humans are like a 3 legged stool, made up of mind, body, and soul. While the mind and the body may go along with satan for a while, because it looks and feels good, one day the feelings of the soul will kick in, and it will feel terrible. There is such a thing as hell on earth, and when the soul finally wakes up and says enough to the devil, the withdrawal pains will be immense. DON'T WAIT FOR THAT TIME. Ever wonder why seemingly normal people kill themselves? This is why. Acute and severe depression kicks in here, and everything inside your head is telling you that there is no hope, and it will never get better. The only way out is suicide. This is the natural end from being infected with sin. Kick whatever bad habit you have now, because not only are you not guaranteed a tomorrow, but the recovery from a lifetime of serious sin and its pains is truly horrific. Just like in physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the reaction from sin is not something you should wish on your worst enemy. Sin is like a boomerang that you throw and then returns and hits you hard in the back of your head, when you least expect it. Jesus said that you will not get out of prison (purgatory) until you have paid the last penny (Matthew 5:26), so atone for your sins now while you still have time.
Three verses which highlight the power of the devil are as follows:
2 Corinthians 4:4: In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.
Ephesians 2:1-2: And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.
1 John 5:19: We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.
Here we see that the devil is the "god of this world", the prince of the very air we breath, and the whole world is in his power. The only way to overcome him is through humility and prayer, based on the examples of Jesus and Mary, who trusted in God the Father completely. There is no need to have an inordinate fear of the devil if you are in the state of grace. Here's why .
Begone Satan , the story of an actual 20th century exorcism in Earling, Iowa.
Many of the saints have seen demons.
To read more about how to overcome satan, click here .
The St. Michael Prayer
One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great emotion: "Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to see!"
He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the archangel St. Michael appeared and cast satan and his legions into the abyss of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint Michael....
Saint Michael the
Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Queen of Angels Prayer
In 1863 A Bernardine Sister was shown in spirit the vast desolation caused by the devil throughout the world. At the same time, she heard the Blessed Virgin telling her it was true, Hell had been let loose upon the earth, and that the time had come to pray to her as Queen of Angels and to ask of her the assistance of the Heavenly Legions to fight against these deadly foes of God and men.
“But, my good Mother,” she replied, you who are so kind, could you not send them without our asking?”
“No,” Our Lady answered, “because prayer is one of the conditions required by God Himself for obtaining favors.”
Then the Blessed Virgin communicated the following prayer, bidding her to have it printed and distribute it everywhere.
"August Queen of Heaven, sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech thee to send thy holy Angels, that under thy command and by thy power, they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe. Most holy Mother, send thy Angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us. Amen."