“Evil is no longer just a deficiency, but an efficiency, a living, spiritual, perverted and perverting being.”

During the General Audience on 15 November 1972 Paul VI delivered an address on the invocation of our principal prayer: “Our Father… deliver us from evil!”.

In this he confirmed the traditional doctrine on the Devil, and stressed the necessity of studying again and examining closely this chapter of Catholic doctrine.

Here are a few of the main points that (especially in these days) are worth seriously considering (especially if you happen to be a politician … or a bishop):

We find evil in the realm of nature, where so many of its expressions seem to speak to us of some sort of disorder. Then we find it among human beings, in the form of weakness, frailty, suffering, death and something worse: the tension between two laws-one reaching for the good, the other directed toward evil.

We come face to face with sin which is a perversion of human freedom and the profound cause of death because it involves detachment from God, the source of life.

Evil is not merely an absence of something but an active force, a living, spiritual being that is perverted and that perverts others.

“I put on the armor of God,” the Apostle tells us, “that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high.”

The Devil is the number one enemy, the preeminent tempter.

He is “a murderer from the beginning, . . . and the father of lies,” as Christ defines him. He undermines man’s moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities, so that he can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations.

Are there signs, and what are they, of the presence of diabolical action? And what means of defense do we have against such an insidious danger?

We can presume that his sinister action is at work where the denial of God becomes radical, subtle and absurd; where lies become powerful and hypocritical in the face of evident truth; where love is smothered by cold, cruel selfishness; where Christ’s name is attacked with conscious, rebellious hatred, where the spirit of the Gospel is watered down and rejected where despair is affirmed as the last word; and so forth.

Defense Against the Devil

Grace is the decisive defense. Innocence takes on the aspect of strength. Everyone recalls how often the apostolic method of teaching used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable. The Christian must be a militant; he must be vigilant and strong; and he must at times make use of special ascetical practices to escape from certain diabolical attacks. Jesus teaches us this by pointing to “prayer and fasting” as the remedy. And the Apostle suggests the main line we should follow: “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. “

With an awareness, therefore, of the opposition that individual souls, the Church and the world must face at the present time, we will try to give both meaning and, effectiveness to the familiar invocation in our principal prayer: “Our Father . . . deliver us from evil!”

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Pope tells why he chose the name of “Benedict XVI”

“Resuming the Wednesday general audiences,” he went on, “I wish to speak of the name I chose on becoming bishop of Rome and pastor of the universal Church. I chose to call myself Benedict XVI ideally as a link to the venerated Pontiff, Benedict XV, who guided the Church through the turbulent times of the First World War. He was a true and courageous prophet of peace who struggled strenuously and bravely, first to avoid the drama of war and then to limit its terrible consequences. In his footsteps I place my ministry, in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples, profoundly convinced that the great good of peace is above all a gift of God, a fragile and precious gift to be invoked, safeguarded and constructed, day after day and with everyone’s contribution.

“The name Benedict also evokes the extraordinary figure of the great ‘patriarch of western monasticism,’ St. Benedict of Norcia, co-patron of Europe with Cyril and Methodius. The progressive expansion of the Benedictine Order which he founded exercised an enormous influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the European continent. For this reason, St. Benedict is much venerated in Germany, and especially in Bavaria, my own land of origin; he constitutes a fundamental point of reference for the unity of Europe and a powerful call to the irrefutable Christian roots of European culture and civilization.”

The Pope appealed to St. Benedict for help “to hold firm Christ’s central position in our lives. May he always be first in our thoughts and in all our activities!”

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Pope cites St. Anselm: “First, one must have faith!”

stanselm

During the Pope’s General Audience yesterday, September 23, in Rome, Pope Benedict said that understanding God will never come from study alone — one must first believe.

Theologians and Christians who wish to deepen their faith “cannot count on just their intelligence, but must cultivate a profound experience of faith at the same time,” he said.

The Pope’s catechesis was dedicated to the life and teachings of St. Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th-century Benedictine and Doctor of the Church.

According to Anselm, Benedict explained, people who wish to better understand the Christian tradition can carry out “a healthy theological quest” by following three steps.

First, one must have faith, which is “a free gift from God to be welcomed with humility.”

The second step is experience, which entails incorporating the word of God in one’s everyday life.

The final step is “true understanding, which is never a result of ascetic reasoning, but of contemplative intuition,” Benedict said.

The Pope then cited St. Anselm’s most famous phrase: “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand.”

The Pope concluded by saying that Anselm showed how the journey to understand God is never fully complete, at least here on earth.

Source: Inside the Vatican Letter #30

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