|St Wolfgang versus the devil|
-St Paul to the Corinthians [2 Corinthians 12:7]
The primary mission of the mystics is to be victim souls—that is, they are especially called by God to suffer in union with Jesus for the conversion of souls. It is a spiritual battle for souls between God and the demons, where the victim soul is essentially the “battle ground”, and the stakes is the conversion of many persons who are at that moment in the hands of the devil.
|A representation of a hairy, ape like man|
-Black human-shaped "shadow people" are also quite common, and are demons in "raw" form. Their purpose seems to be to terrorize and scare, hoping to lead the victim to despair.
-The devil has been often known to take on the form of a goat, to mock Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of humanity.
For example on July 2, 1961 the four children of Garabandal, Spain purportedly saw a very large "Eye of God" above and to the right of the Blessed Virgin Mary as She was appearing to them. After the apparition, each of the children individually all described this to be precisely the "Eye of God" who presumably was revealing to the children that He is watching over all events..
Nevertheless, the demons sought to discourage her from her mission of sacrificing and suffering for souls, and they endeavored by all means to drive her to despair, and she overheard them saying such things as:
She endured all the tortures of hell, with the one exception: that of the hatred of God. For Josefa, the most painful of these torments was to hear the horrid confessions of the damned, their cries of hatred, of pain and of despair.
|St Padre Pio|
"The tempter, ever on the watch, wages war most violently against those whom he sees most careful to avoid sin" -St. Leo the Great, died, 461.
Many people throughout the world are well aware of the Italian priest affectionately named "Padre Pio" who bore the stigmata for exactly 50 years and 3 days---longer than any known stigmatic in the history of the Catholic church. The miracles God wrought through this holy Capuchin friar are also well known. But surely what is less known about him are the many demonic battles he was forced to undergo to snatch souls from the demons.
Padre Pio spent countless hours each day hearing the confessions of sinners, and the devil was to make him pay for bringing souls to Jesus. Father Joseph Martin, O.F.M. Cap. who was Padre Pio's close companion the last three years of his life tells the story of how one night the devil beat Padre Pio so severely that he fell on the floor of his cell and cut his head quite badly. The next morning, when Father Martin came to his aid and asked what had happened, Padre had told him how the devil had beat him. Furthermore, a blood-stained pillow, which is kept to this day in his cell at Our Lady of Grace Friary had been found underneath the Padre's head. When asked where all the blood on it came from, he claimed that the Blessed Virgin Mary had placed it under his head during the night, while She consoled and comforted him.
|The beloved Mystic & Stigmatic, St Padre Pio|
They flung themselves upon me like so many hungry tigers, cursing me and threatening to make me pay for it. My dear Father, they kept their word! From that day onward they have beaten me every day .... (Letter to Padre Agostino, Feb. 1,1913.)
Jesus never stops loving me in spite of all my shortcomings, for he allows those ugly-faced creatures to afflict me incessantly. For the past twenty-two days Jesus has allowed them to vent their anger on me continually. My body, dear Father, is bruised all over, from all the blows it has received at the hands of our enemies. More than once they even went so far as to pull off my nightshirt and beat me in that state .... (Letter to Padre Agostino, Feb. 13, 1913.)
So far we have seen how Lucifer is a frightening adversary, most especially for the victim souls who are called to suffer for the conversion of sinners. The devil is in fact very powerful and should be taken seriously. In closing with St Padre Pio, let us read his words which tells us just how powerful a enemy we have in the devil:
In light of this we see how in her journal Josefa Menendez writes:
"On the night of the 13th or 14th of January, 1922 that the devil began once more to torture me. He tried to force me to abandon my vocation. In his increasing fury he even tried to ensnare me by taking on the appearance of Jesus ."
In fact the devil continued to try to appear as Jesus so to remedy this problem her spiritual director, Father Boyer O.P. at first had her renew her profession vows [as a nun] whenever a "heavenly" visitor would appear, and later upon the appearance of any "visitor" he told her to recite the 'Divine Praises' of which she asked the visitors to repeat after her. In their great pride and hatred for God the demons could never utter any of the "Blessings" of the Divine Praises [ie- the "Blessed be God" and "Blessed be Jesus Christ" etc..]
Josefa's spiritual director most assuredly discovered this new powerful weapon against the demons disguises from the life of St Gemma Galgani (1878-1903), for it was precisely through the reciting of the "Divine Praises" that Gemma was finally able to thwart the devil who was frequently appearing to her under different disguises in an effort to deceive her. For as Gemma learned (thanks to her spiritual director, Venerable Fr. Germanus C.P.) that the devil with his polluted lips is never able to utter such words of praise and benediction.
|St Gemma Galgani|
"Go ahead and pray for yourself, but if you pray for others I will make you pay dearly for it! -Lucifer to St Gemma Galgani
The attacks that the demons waged against the Italian mystic and stigmatic St Gemma Galgani are legendary. Known for her extraordinary virtues and a deep love for Jesus and Mary, Gemma was only 25 when she died in 1903 having reached a high degree of sanctity. The devil appeared to her in many different forms: a hairy man and a black dog--both of whom would beat her mercilessly; a black "panther" like cat; and as an "angel" resplendent with light.
The devil even carried these wicked disguises so far as to feign to be a priest to whom Gemma used to make her confession to--Monsignor Giovanni Volpi, a priest whom she had known for almost her entire life! She had gone one day to Church, and while preparing herself to make her confession, she saw that Monsignor Volpi was already in the confessional, a fact which caused her to momentarily wonder, having not seen him pass and enter. At the same time she began to feel very much disturbed in spirit, as generally happened to her when in the presence of the malignant spirits.
She entered the confessional however, and began her confession as usual. The voice and ways were indeed those of the confessor she knew since childhood, but his words and advice were not pious, and were accompanied by improper gestures. “My God” she exclaimed, “what has happened?”
At such a sight and at such words the angelic child trembled, and realizing it was the devil in disguise, she hurriedly left the confessional, and saw as she did so that the pretended "confessor" had disappeared. She knew then that it was the devil, who by his coarse and fiendish ways had sought to deceive her, or at least make her lose all confidence in the minister of God.
In the life of St Dominic (1170-1221), the great founder of the Dominican Order, we read the following:
"The servant of God, who had neither bed nor cell of his own, had publicly commanded his fellow Priests and Brothers that they should retire to bed at a certain hour, so as to be able to arise at a later hour for Matins, and as their superior and the founder of their Community his instructions, of course, were strictly obeyed.
Now, at that time Dominic, the holy man of God, had no bed or cell, and rested before the Lord in the church, the devil appeared before him in the form of one of his fellow religious, and since it was past the prohibited time, the Saint went softly up to him, and expressed his desired for him to go to his cell, and sleep with the others.
The pretended friar inclined his head in sign of humble obedience, and went as he was told; but on each of the two following nights, he returned at the same hour and in the same manner. The second time, the man of God rose very gently (although, indeed, he had reason to be somewhat angry, seeing he had already reminded his fellow priest the night before), and again asked him to go to his cell for rest. Once again, he went; but in the same manner the following evening he returned yet a third time.
Then it seemed to the Saint that the disobedience and pertinacity of this brother priest was too great, and he reproved him with some severity; and the demon, who desired nothing else but to disturb his prayer, stir anger within him, and move him to break the silence, gave a loud laugh, and, leaping high into the air, he said:
"I have made you break the silence, and moved you to wrath!"
But Dominic calmly replied, 'Not so, for as superior of the Community I have power to dispense; and neither is it blameworthy wrath when I utter reproofs unto the disobedient.'
And with this truthful reply the demon was obliged to fly.
(Taken from "The Life of Saint Dominic" by August Theodosia Drane, published by TAN Books and Publishers)
A few moments later, after having recovered somewhat from his self induced injury, the “Saint” then told the man that it was necessary for him to now cut his throat. Fearing the anger of God and that of the “Saint” the man then raised the knife to his throat, when suddenly there appeared before him the Blessed Virgin Mary, who looking directly at the man simply stated “NO!” Next the Blessed Virgin turned to the “Saint” apparition, and upon setting Her heavenly gaze upon the “Saint”, it let out a angry shriek and then suddenly disappeared. Thus we see how in this instance the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself interceded and put an end to the demons ruse.
|Blessed Alexandrina da Costa|
St John Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars, nicknamed the devil "Grappin", which literally means "the wrestler". This was in fact a very suitable term since the devil often attacked him at night, and even tried to burn his straw bed while the Saint was lying in it! St Padre Pio called the devil the "Ogre", which means "hairy, beast-like man". St Gemma called the devil "Chiappino", which is the equivalent of "burglar" or "thief".
Other Saints who were oppressed by the demons
Those interested in further exploring this subject can find more of these events in the lives of Marthe Robin (1902-1981) -in her case, the devil was so enraged over her joining the Third Order of St. Francis that he had struck her a blow to the face, breaking two of her teeth, also Therese Neumann of Konnerseuth (1898-1962), Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) who once received blows to the face from the devil who appeared to her, like he also did to St Gemma, that is, in the form of a large black dog, St Teresa of Avila, St Joseph or Copertino, St Paul of the Cross and St Dominic, just to name a few of the many.
Additionally, those interested in this subject may find the following articles very interesting:
St Gemma versus the devil and also How to get rid of evil spirits
"The devil, in the form of a great black dog, put his paws upon my shoulders, making every bone in my body ache. At times I believed that he would mangle me; then one time, when I was blessing myself with holy water, he twisted my arm so cruelly that I fell to the ground in great pain. After a while I remembered that I had around my neck the relic of the Holy Cross. Making the Sign of the Cross, I became calm. Jesus let me see Himself, but only for a short time, and He strengthened me anew to suffer and struggle." -St Gemma Galgani