The Hour of Mercy vs the Hour of Darkness

Jesus' Hour of Mercy versus Satan's Hour of Darkness

An interesting discussion has just recently been sparked in the comment section of one of the articles here on this website concerning the significance of what is often referred to as the 3:00 a.m "Witching Hour" or "Devils Hour."

Since Jesus died at 3pm, the Church celebrates 3pm as the Hour of Mercy, where for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, we call upon God during this specific Hour to have mercy upon us and upon the whole world.

On the opposing side, for his part the devil therefore seeks to  mock and "one-up" Jesus and His Hour of Mercy by doing the exact opposite "hour of evil" at 3am, which is even more suitable for the demonic in that the time beginning around 3 the darkest part of the night, since the moon is setting or has already set at that time, and its usually darkest right up until dawn. Due to his excessive pride and avarice, Lucifer often seeks to ape and mock God, and this "Hour of darkness" opposite the Hour of Mercy maliciously suits him and his minions very well unfortunately.

The "Witching Hour"
Since 3 a.m. is the exact opposite time of 3 p.m and the Hour of Mercy, we often hear of 3 a.m. being referred to as the "witching hour", as it is well known how Satanist's often perform their black masses at 3 a.m., and also traditionally we read of "witches" who are said to perform their witchcraft such as conjuring up spells during this 3 to 4 a.m. time-frame. Occultists of all types traditionally also celebrate their ceremonies during this period, for it is believed that the forces of darkness reach their peak activity at this time. 

For its part, Wikipedia makes the following observations concerning the "Witching Hour":
"In folklore, the witching hour or devil's hour is a time of night associated with supernatural events. Witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful. Black magic is thought to be most effective at this time. In the Western Christian tradition, the hour between 3 and 4 a.m. was considered a period of peak supernatural activity, due to the absence of prayers in the canonical hours during this period."

For we see how Light and darkness is often used in the Scriptures to symbolize Good vs Evil. God Himself is often symbolized by Light, whereas the devil and his demons are symbolized by Darkness. Paradoxically, Lucifer himself while in heaven was given the title "Light Bearer"--a title which he of course completely lost when he uttered his blasphemous "Non serviam" against God (I will not serve).

We often see in the lives of many Mystics like St Padre Pio, St John Vianney, St Gemma, and Sr. Josefa Menedez for example how the malignant spirits sought to harangue and terrorize these holy souls, most particularly in the depths of the night when everyone else was sleeping. One can surmise in all this that its likely the demonic gains an increased level of power or boldness during the increasing darkness of the night, however they never have the power to overcome souls by their own doings--they only have the power to tempt or harass.

For example we have St Padre Pio writing to a priest confidant:

“These devils don’t stop striking me, even making me fall down from the bed. They even tear off my night shirt to beat me! But now they do not frighten me anymore. Jesus loves me, He often lifts me and places me back on the bed.”

or in the writings of St Gemma we read:
That contemptible beast dragged me from my bed and threw me, hitting my head against the floor with such force that it pains me still. I became senseless and remained lying there until I came to myself a long time afterwards. Jesus be thanked!"

Another time Gemma writes:
"Today I thought I was to be entirely free from that nauseous animal, and instead he has knocked me about greatly. I had gone to bed with the full intention of sleeping, but it turned out otherwise. He began to beat me with such blows that I feared I would die. He was in the shape of a big black dog, and he put his "paws" on my shoulders, hurting me greatly. I felt it so much in all my bones that I thought that they were broken. Also, when I was taking holy water he wrenched my arm so violently that I fell to the floor from the pain. The bone was dislocated, but went back into place because Jesus touched it for me, and all was remedied". 

A "Time of Mercy"
Similarly in relation to the Hour of Mercy, many Christians (including this writer) believe that the world is currently living in a Time of Mercy, which began around the year 1945 and extending to this present time. However many believe that very grave storm clouds are building due to humanities ever increasing rejection of God and His commandments, and the increasing propensity of sin and grave evils willingly and often knowingly committed by us, God's children, and because of this the period of relative peace for the world given through this Time of Mercy may very soon be coming to an end.

For those who have eyes to see can surely see that the storm clouds are building, and darkness is slowly covering the land.

The "Power of darkness" is nothing in comparison to the Power of God.
And speaking of darkness, we can note how Jesus was captured at night in the darkness of the garden, then interrogated and tortured well into the early hours of the morning.
"When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53)

Of course darkness and evil of that Holy Thursday night did not win out over Jesus, as His Resurrection on Easter morning so wonderfully proves, nor does the devils machinations at 3am or any other time win over us, so long as we remain steadfast in faith, hope and love. In the current discussion of these matters in the comment section here on this website, one person brought forth the consoling reflection of how Holy Mass is constantly being celebrated at every moment somewhere in the world, wherein Jesus present in the Eucharist upon the altar re-presents Himself to the Father in reparation for our sins. He is the Light of the world, “And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness cannot overcome it!”  (John 1:5)


Anonymous said...

As wiki says, "Folklore..."

Glenn, all the symbolism you refer to is spot on and certainly a part of Christian theology, especially St. John's gospel—he writes beautifully about the binary realities of light and darkness.That some saints were disturbed greatly at night is also well-recorded; St. John Vianney was another saint who had demonic attacks at night. But whether most such attacks are associated with a particular hour seems iffy to me.

It's true, is it not, that the devil's attacks can (and do) happen at any hour of the day or night? And whenever they do, as you say, God's power is always infinitely greater than anything the devil can throw at us. C.S. Lewis's "Screwtape Letters" describes the clever ways the devil uses against us. Unfortunately his best tricks are the sneakiest, in which, like frogs in boiling water, we gradually succumb to immorality in full daylight.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your comments!

You mentioned St John Vianney, the holy Cure of Ars. One of my favorite stories about him which relates to the topic of this article is that on one occasion the devil literally set fire to his straw bed while he was sleeping in it, in an effort to put an end to him. Talk about a rude awakening LOL! This of course is just one of the many attacks her received from the demons.

As for the proposition in this article of the 3AM "Devils Hour" being essentially the antithesis of the 3PM Hour of Mercy, well you are right that it is a premise--a proposition primarily based on circumstantial evidence. Nevertheless it certainly is factual that many Satanists, Occultists and the like do subscribe to this 3am hour by performing black masses and ceremonies specifically during this time period, as one can find documented online.

Well, thanks again for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones.

Anonymous said...

How to hide in Jesus' Sacred Heart during the dark hours.

Imagine Jesus' Heart very big, almost as big as the room. He takes everything in it, nothing can escape. Not even you with your fears and doubts and imperfections. You have no way to escape, if you want to be with Him. You are secure, and the devil has no place in it or around.

Imagine Jesus opens His shirt. Yes, He opens His shirt on the chest. We are shy to paint Him like that, out of ill understood modern views how it must be. It wasn't like that. He did wear His tunic open on the chest in Galilee. Both as young and in the public mission of the Gospel. Imagine He opens His shirt for you, and you put your head on His chest and Heart...

Anderson said...

Prayer is the Answer!

Michael Kress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

I don't believe in the 3am "devil's hour." At our perpetual adoration, it is a tradition to recite the Devine Mercy chaplet at that hour of the morning. The important thing is, the number three reminds us of the Holy Trinity. And if it's 3am now where I am, I'm sure there's a 3pm time somewhere in the world.
God bless us all.

Anonymous said...

Marie, what you believe or don't believe is of little consequence when stacked up against reality.

Ask any experienced exorcist about the 3 am hour.

"I don't believe there's anything wrong with..."

"I don't care what the Church says, I don't believe..."

Oh, how tiresome.

Marie said...

Thank you, Anonymous. Just wondering, where and when did Holy Mother Church say 3am is the devil's hour? Is that claim a part of the Ordinary Magisterium and therefore must be believed?

If you judged me wrong, do you think the Divine Mercy chaplet traditionally prayed by adorers at the various Eucharistic Perpetual Adorations at 3am condemned by God? Do think Jesus, the Blessed Sacrament stops listening to our prayers at 3am because it's the devil's hour?

Why are Eucharistic adorer experiences "stacked up against reality," as you claimed?

And what exactly is your name, Anonymous?

Marie said...

In recent years in the Immaculate Conception chapel in San Francisco, there used to be an all-night Eucharistic adoration every month that started at 8pm on the First Friday and ending with a Mass at 8am on First Saturday. At 3am, the practice was for the adorers to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet. There was no 3pm at that time of the morning, so we made do with 3am. We didn’t think our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament minded so much that we continued praying during your so-called “devil’s hour.”

The pastor of the chapel (connected to St. Anthony’s parish) was Fr. William Laureola, OFM - at that time, the official exorcist of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, now retired. (The chapel closed down after he retired, but that’s beside the point.)

It was Fr. William who heard our confessions at the start of the First Friday vigil and also celebrated the First Saturday Mass ending it. If there was anything wrong with praying at 3am, he would have told us we were “stacked against reality.” He was an exorcist.

So, as you were saying?

Unknown said...

My Dad recently passed away during the 3am hour. My mother and I felt it was fitting because we were able to hold his hand and pray 2 Divine Mercy Chaplets and sorrowful mysteries of the rosary being that it was a Friday morning. It was also comforting knowing their were many Divine Mercy Chaplets being offered at this time. My Dad went in peace approx 3:55am as we finished the 2nd Chaplet. I thank God that he passed during this hour, if not 3pm

Claire said...

My dad also passed away at 3am exactly. This gave my mother a lot of comfort, as she said he always had such a great devotion to the Divine Mercy and the Holy Hour Devotions. I think it isn't in to ‘give’ any time of our precious day to the Devil, as if he has any lawful claim on it. God owns it all and He shares it with us. My beloved dad, who said the Daily Rosary and attended daily Mass without fail, passing away at 3am is proof to me of that.

I have just discovered this interesting!! I’m reading through it all.

TREECIE said...

If there is an actual "witching hour," that would be an excellent hour to pray a chaplet or a rosary against the forces of evil. All times and places do belong to God, whatever the devil may like us to think.

Ephraim said...

I do not think there is anything wrong with praying at 3am because it is termed "witching hour", rather, all should be encouraged to pray so that we can overpower the dark spirits.

I think in reference to it, we are only told that the devil uses the hour for his diabolical practices in an attempt to mock our Lord and His hour of Mercy.

There can never be a time which we will be encouraged not to pray cos the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing and to pray I'm and out of seasons.

It is only even logical to pray at such hours so as to neutralize the power of evil.