This article contains some excerpts from an old booklet “Mary Crushes the Serpent”, originally distributed by Keefe's Catholic Gift Shop, 372 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, Minn. 55102 and obtainable on the internet for $3.00 from Spirit Daily here. The booklet was written under obedience by a German priest who was an exorcist for over 30 years; from 1874 to his holy death in 1909. The booklet was begun after his first 25 years of experience.
The part of this booklet that I want to focus on is a common subject on this website: the influence of the devil and the demons in the lives of the victim souls, and the Blessed Virgin Mary’s important role in relation to the victim souls, and the demons that attack and oppress them. All the information below is taken directly from this booklet.
The Virgin Mary, the Victim Souls and the demons
In “Mary Crushes the Serpent” we read:
“The Blessed Virgin has selected a little army of noble souls who are prepared to suffer everything and to offer themselves freely to God as a holocaust in atonement for souls. She has selected them to fight directly against the demons. They will break the might of Lucifer's legions upon earth and will deprive him of at least a part of the victims he already counts as his own.
"These selected souls will bear up courageously under the attacks of the demons. They will suffer possession in order to free the souls of fellowmen from the yoke of the evil one. They take the place of the guilty to free them from the power of the demon who has darkened their understanding and who is trying to harden their misguided will. It is a worldwide battle between the ferocity of the demon and the victim souls' love for the cross.
"The victim souls endure bodily sufferings as well as attacks directed against the sensitive powers of the soul. They will, however, conquer with their spiritual aids. Their lower nature will, so to say, be crushed by demoniacal tortures, but the higher spiritual nature will triumph over the infernal spirits through their generous submission to suffering. Their spiritual powers will increase in proportion to the amount of suffering they, endure, for in every loving suffering they will receive an increase of love.
"The power of the demons will gradually decrease, at least externally. All their energy will be exhausted in their onslaughts against these victim souls. Should the victim soul persevere in her sacrifice, then her influence will increase, and that of the demon will diminish gradually. Whence it follows that the victim soul will be victorious and the enemy will be completely crushed. The battle between such a victim soul and the demon is a real duel to the death. They are as two gladiators forced to fight until one remains a victim upon the battlefield. The demon is full of hatred towards all good.
"With you everything is love, but with us it is all hatred." He loves the bad only out of hatred for the good. A demon told me that he seduces men to different vices not because he likes these vices but because he despises their virtues. Whenever he sees a virtuous or well-meaning soul whom God might use to accomplish something worthwhile, his hatred becomes in-flamed and he tries every possible device to deprive that soul of her virtue and to make her incapable of doing good. He is unable to foretell what the results of his attacks will be. He said to me: "We do not know whither we go." He uses every opportunity to do evil and blindly pursues his hatred against the good without knowing whither his madness and his striving after evil will lead him.
"Led by pride he always hopes for success and victory. "I am too proud," he said, "to believe that I will fail in my attempt." Thus he proceeds blindly and to his own shame he is instrumental in bringing about a lot of good. The demon himself told me that there are many things he would not do if he could know beforehand what the outcome would be. All these statements were verified in the actual battle of the demons with their victims.
"The demon is aware of these virtuous souls who offer themselves as victims and knows that they are capable of doing much good. Driven by hatred he attacks them without knowing what the consequences will be, but he does not doubt his own success. He gets them into his control in order to corrupt them and to deprive God of their honor. God permits this, but once the demons have freely undertaken to combat these souls, God forces His emissaries to continue the battle to the very end. The demon will either conquer or be conquered. He said to me: "It seems as if God tells us: 'Go ahead!' 'I have to continue." Despite his pride to undertake a battle to a possible victory, he knows and admits that love will win. "Because," he says, "love is more powerful than hatred."
"The battle of these victim souls against the demons brings about the very sanctification of these souls. The demon states that a certain number of souls is under the mastery of every demon prowling about the earth. The purpose is not the demoniacal possession itself in the narrow sense, but rather to control the soul through sin and a willing attachment of evil. He regards such souls as his own prizes of spoliation, because he beclouds their heart thereby gradually making their return to the good [almost] morally impossible.
"About those souls whose wills have been subjected to his control the demon says: "Whenever I have the will of an individual, then I deride your God." Yet he admits that the conversion of that soul is not impossible. "They can repent, but it is very difficult."
"Fortunately there are victim souls on hand to wrest these tortured souls from the demon's clutches. If not all, at least a great number of them are delivered in the following manner:
"According to the confessions of the demons, they lose their power in the battle with these victim souls. Not only do they lose the victim, but they themselves are made helpless. They also lose control over the souls that have become their slaves through sin. After their release these souls for whom the victims have suffered and have made satisfaction to Divine Justice, they can again benefit through God's mercy and can easily convert themselves. The devil no longer has any power to prevent them from doing so.
"I asked one of the conquered demons who was forced to liberate all the souls whom he kept in the slavery of sin: "Are all these souls converted?" To which he replied : "Some, indeed; the others can be if they want to."
The helpless demons remain in their victims as in a prison, without being able to go elsewhere, or to be externally active. They are awaiting the defeat of their entire band, which is accomplished when their chief is completely overcome. As soon as their leader has lost everything that he and his associates possessed on earth, he has to return to hell, taking all his attendants with him. For the demons said to me: "We cannot remain on earth if we are no longer here in control."
"A demon once remarked to me after I had forced him to leave a nun over whom I had performed the ritual of exorcism: "Let me have what I possess on earth and I will leave her at once. But if I have to depart from her, then we must give up everything and return back to hell. For this reason God permits us to defend ourselves to the very last."
"The demons maintain that the sins of men give them power over men. They say that God permits demons to keep what they have won through the misdirected will of man, and only the free will of man can take from them what the free will of man has given them. Through the wilful suffering of victim souls the demons are deprived of that which men have given them through sin.
"During the exorcism of a victim soul I asked the demon when the sufferings of this victim would cease. He answered that it depended entirely upon the victim soul herself. She merely had to desire the discontinuance of her suffering and leave the demons in peace instead of battling with them to rob them of these captive souls. "She should remain with her beloved (Jesus)," said the demon of the victim, "and we will let her in peace ... Why does she pry into our family? Because she does not want it any other way. It satisfies her."
"This confession showed that the victim soul loved to suffer and that through suffering she entered into the realm of the demon and wrested souls from him that he had gained to his side. According to the constant confessions of the demons it is the Blessed Virgin who leads the suffering souls against the demons and forces them to battle with the victim souls until they are overpowered. The Blessed Virgin ties a host of these to this or that victim. When one horde is made helpless, another one follows to meet the same fate ..
"That a weak human creature, a victim soul, should ever overpower them humiliates the pride of the demons. "She (Blessed Virgin) should come herself to crush us," shrieked the conquered and humiliated demon, "but to think that two weaklings like yourself and she (the exorcist and the victim) must humble me in such a manner ... !"
"When the power of the demon is exhausted through rage, he becomes a coward. Courage is a virtue and the demon has no such virtue. Hence he is not courageous but wild, just so long as his energy lasts. As soon as his strength leaves him, he becomes a weakling. "Mercy, mercy! Oh, how I suffer I Enough! Enough! I can't stand it any more! I am lost! I am miserable! Have pity on me and do not let me suffer so terribly!" Such are the cries of the demon, even the strongest, as soon as he is overpowered.
[Picture to the left is the Blessed Virgin Mary crushing the devil in the form of a snake] "The demons experience other humiliations which cause them to become furious with rage. When they torture their victims they make them holy. I have always noticed that these noble souls made rapid strides on the road to perfection. In order to humble the demon I called his attention to the progress of the souls whom he had tormented: "Just look at that soul, how beautiful it is! You have made her so beautiful. When you see her at the last judgment in her grandeur, you can glory in the fact and say: "That is my work!" This sarcasm caused him to rave. But he continued to battle as long as he had the strength. His pride would not permit him to believe that he would be conquered, nor that he would fail to ruin her soul. "I never permit myself to be discouraged," he said to me. "As long as I have power, I will continue my attacks. I will not retreat."
"The demon is especially shamed when one of his previous victims [who happens to initially be far from God] converts, becomes sanctified, and finally fights to deprive him of more souls…It is an unbearable torture for the demon to be imprisoned in a victim soul and to be tied to her. The sight of all that is virtuous causes him intense pain, for I have often heard him yell out: "I would rather be in hell than in this filthy person!" Again he said: "Do you think it is a pleasure to be in that morass and to be a witness to ail these acts of love?"
"The demons often pleaded: "Let me be free! Let me depart! You have the power to do it! This is truly a glowing oven. Let me depart!" I asked him:
"Who has confined you to that person " "The Virgin," he answered. "Well and good," said I, "if she is the one who has imprisoned you, then it is her affair to free you if she considers it fitting to do so."
"The forced union of the demon with another victim caused him to cry out: "If she would only let me go free!". What does all this wailing indicate? "This is a glowing oven! I would rather be in hell than in that house of filth," and similar expressions. This pleading of the demon with the exorcist: "Let me depart! Let her (the victim) free me!" is a proof of the peculiar fact that the demon is made a prisoner in one whom he himself had formerly controlled. He originally entered the victim soul as a ruler, as a tyrant, in the hope of ruining her. The heroic patience and sincere love of the victim for her mission broke down the power of the demon.
After losing the fight he wanted to escape from this humiliating battle. But God commanded him: "Stay there!" And he was forced to continue. He has to carry on the fight and dare not leave the soul until he is either conqueror or conquered. Being imprisoned in his victim, he can no longer roam about nor harm people just as he pleases.
"The imprisoned demon lets out his fury upon the living person like a wild animal confined in a cage trying to wreck it in order to escape. Yet he cannot escape. Indeed, the victim soul suffers by it but the demon is not freed. By patiently bearing the raving madness of the demon, the victim gradually makes him powerless. The more the demons feel their influence slipping the more furious they become. They admit that themselves: "The weaker we are, the wilder we be come."
"Besides the people they have won over to their side, the demons also use secret societies as their shock troops. With their help the evil sown by the demons spreads wider and wider like a prairie fire. Despite this help, the demons know the futility of the battle before-hand. They also admit their own defeat and the ultimate failure of the secret societies in their pres¬ent battle. Their admission on this point is as follows: "We will be cast back into hell but we do not know just when. The hour is determined by your Master, Who is also our Master. Lucifer is not our master; he is our leader." By "Master" they mean God.
"God has ordained that there will always be demons upon the earth to try and to test mankind. But the main leaders will have to return to hell and those remaining will be weakened. They will no longer be able to seduce men. The demons told me this themselves. They also told me that once they are defeated, that the time will also come when the members of the secret societies will be humiliated.
"The Virgin will destroy the secret societies. "She has already set herself against them." "You will be saved by the “Tower of Babel”. I presume that by the "Tower of Babel" the demon means that all the wicked will attempt an arrogant assault that will end to their shame in general confusion, just as the wicked people of the Old Testament attempted to erect the Tower of Babel to make their entrance into heaven.
"The crucified souls are the ones," said the demon, "that will wage war against us…A faithful soul is more powerful than hell, but a crucified soul is more powerful than a thousand hells." Thus the victim souls will bring peace back into the Church when they have completed their suffering.
"When the demon confessed his future downfall I pressed him for more information “So at that time, we will share in the mercy of God, instead of his punishment?
He answered “Very true!...and if it would not be for Her (Blessed Virgin) powerful arm….!” ‘Is it Her arm that holds back the arm of God?’ “Yes, and this is the reason that She desires victim souls.”
"From these confessions of the demon we may conclude that the Blessed Virgin is selecting noble victim souls who are willing to suffer for love of God. The Blessed Virgin permits them to give battle to the demons that roam about the earth suppressing the Church and ruining souls.
"The Blessed Virgin provides a remedy for all our great evils in this manner: She liberates the Church and the souls from the power of these devils; she consoles and placates the Heart of her Beloved Son; she makes atonement to God's Justice in place of the sinners and implores God's mercy in their behalf. Finally, she removes from us the avenging justice of God or at least mitigates the punishments. She does not forget those noble souls she enjoins to carry out her plan. They are sanctified through the cross which they have accepted of their own choosing, and through the Blessed Virgin, a reward is prepared for them before God equal to the submission and greatness of their love.
"Evidently the aims planned by the Blessed Virgin are of the greatest importance. That makes it intelligible why God should permit these selected souls to be subject to the influence and [at times] the actual possession of Satan. The final practical results measured in the scale of an almighty and all-powerful God will justify the ordeal of these terrible tests to achieve His ultimate goal. It is true that there will be innocent souls entrusted to the cruelty of the demons. Yet, did not God permit His only begotten Son, Who was innocent and holy, to suffer and die upon the cross in order to deliver the world from the power of Satan and thus bring about the salvation of souls? It was not by His teaching and prayer but by His bitter passion and death that He redeemed us. And did not the Blessed Virgin consent to the sacrifice of Her Divine Son, as she stood beneath the Cross? Did She not offer up her sorrows to crush the powers of hell and bring about the salvation of souls? What she did so heroically for us then through the sacrifice of her Beloved Son, that She continues to do for us now. Despite the sympathy of her motherly heart She sacrifices her loving children, the victim souls, by permitting them to suffer for the benefit of the Church and for the salvation of souls in view of the glorious victory that She attains over the powers of hell.
"That is the program of the Blessed Virgin. What I have said about it is the real truth; It is not a theory fashioned by me, nor a teaching that I would foster, but it deals with a reality which I wish to make known and the veracity of which I believe I can definitely prove. The confessions of the demons prove it; the supernatural revelations give testimony to it.
"When I entered upon my career as exorcist I noted down the details of the revelations made after each exorcism. I made a daily note of the supernatural manifestations which took place during the exorcisms or sometimes in between a series of exorcisms. I consider myself qualified to give an exact account of the facts as they developed in the course of time without having recourse to my notes. I am able to give the exact words as they have been spoken. All that I mention I have seen and heard myself and have noted it down faithfully during the 25 years of my responsible office of exorcist.
"…It is through the generous sufferings of the victim souls that the Blessed Virgin is seeks to make atonement for the offenses committed against the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son. She thereby wishes to mitigate His anger; to make reparation and satisfaction to the Divine Justice, and thus to obtain grace and mercy for sinners. He plan is to give constant battle to the demons; to wrest a large number of souls from them, and to then cast the helpless demons back to hell. The work of the victim souls is a work of mercy towards sinners as well as a work of atonement and reparation for their guilt.”
~Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us; Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
-All of the above is taken from the book "Mary Crushes the Serpent" availible for $3.00 from Spirit Daily here.