My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE DEVIL AND MAGIC
by Hieromonk Benedict of Holy Mount Athos, Greece
It is fact that the devil is also called lion in the Holy Scripture. Listen to what they say: "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The same is said elsewhere: "You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra. The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot" (Psalm 91:13). The beast takes many forms, but if we are vigilant, this lion and the serpent will become more worthless than clay. He will not take his stance directly against us, but even if he does show up, he will be trampled by us. Because, it is written: "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, but nothing shall by any means hurt you" (St. Luke 10:19).
He is Powerless Before Christians
He prowls around everywhere with great anger, exactly as a lion does. If, however, he insults those who have Christ and His Cross on their foreheads, the fire of the Holy Spirit and Its Inextinguishable Torch, he will not be able to glance upon them. Instead, he will turn his tail and depart, never daring to return again.
In order for you to learn that all this which has been said is not just words, I plead with you to read the Apostle Paul's writings. It is because he also was a person. However, since the lion was so afraid of Saint Paul, he avoided his clothes and his shadows. This was very natural. It is due to the fact that the devil couldn't endure the fragrance of Christ which emanated and radiated from St. Paul's person. Nor could he lift his eyes towards that virtuous torch. (Psalm 7)
d) The eternal tempter
The Holy Bible simply says that man is bad, but when it speaks of the devil, it calls him a tempter. But why so? It is because the devil became the father of evil. This is why he is said to be the eternal tempter or seducer, and this is sufficient. Instead of the first name, only the surname is used, due to the fact that he has excessive seductive power. This was not inborn for him, but was acquired later on. (Psalm 118)
"But deliver us from the Evil One" (not "evil") St. Matthew 6:13. In the Holy Bible, the devil is called the evil one and it urges us to engage in an unending battle with him. It also explains that the evil is not a trait of his nature because evil is not an ingredient of our nature but a result of volition.
He is specifically called so, that is evil, because of his excessive wickedness. And, even though we have not committed an injustice to him in any way, he has declared relentless war against us. That is why Our Lord Jesus Christ did not say, "deliver us from those things which belong to the evil ones", but "deliver us from the evil one". He teaches us not to become depressed with our fellow humans no matter what they do to us, but to direct our hatred from them unto him, because he is the cause of all things bad.
When He says "For Yours is the Kingdom..." (St. Matthew 6:14), it is shown that the devil is submissive and is our enemy and when it is evident that he fights us, he does it by God's permission. It is because even he is one of His servants, even though he is one of those who have rebelled and who has opposed Him. The rebel would not have dared to attack against those who were God's servants if he had not previously received permission to do so from on high. And what do I say to His faithful servants? I would say that the devil could not even attack the swine, if it were not permitted to him to do so. If he had not received permission from heaven above, he would not even have been able to do so with sheep,, nor with cattle.
e) Many-named, Diverse, Polymorphous, and Evil Beast
The devil and all his force is like a wild boar and the wild beast because his appearance is wild and filthy. When the Holy Bible wishes to declare this usurpation, It says the devil is: "like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). However, when The Bible wants to disclose the poisonous, deadly and catastrophic fury which he has, it calls him the serpent and the scorpion. It says: "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (St. Luke 10:19). And again, when it wants to show his strength and, together with this, his specialty to poison, it calls him the serpent. Just as when it says: "This serpent which He created in order to play inside her" (Psalm 103:26). Everywhere, he is called the perverse snake, and serpent, which acts as a shield.
So then, the beast is complicated and polymorphous. What is more, it has tremendous strength. He agitates everything, disturbs all, and turns everything upside-down (our society today).
But do not be afraid and do not tremble. Just remain alert and vigilant, and he will seem as harmless as a sparrow. It is said: "I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions" (St. Luke 10:19). If we wish it, we have already been granted the authority to trample him with our feet.
Notice then, how funny it is that so much misery exists. He who should be found under our feet is the same who is found above our heads. How does this happen? It totally depends on us. If we desire it he is big, and if we want it, he is small. If we take care of ourselves and remain with Our King, he is orderly, and in the battle which he wages with us he is no different at all from that of a small child. When we remove ourselves from Our King, then he becomes haughty, grinds his teeth and groans, because he has found that we are not with Our Great Ally. This is because he does not attack unless God allows him to.
When Does God Allow His Attacks Against Us
God allows attacks against us, whenever He wants to reform us or when He requests satisfaction, or even when He wants to test a person even more, as He did with Job. Do you see that he does not approach Job, nor dare to come close, but even fears him and trembles at the thought of him?
Why do I speak of Job? It is because when the devil attacked Judas, he didn't dare seize him totally and enter into him, until Jesus Christ cut him off from the Holy Group of the Disciples. So, that is when he attacked him externally, since he could not enter him internally. When, however, he saw that he was cut off from the Holy Disciples, he pounced more vehemently than any wolf. He didn't withdraw himself, until the moment when he killed Judas with the double death, physically and spiritually (Philippians 6.)
The beast is evil and he does everything to work in opposition to our salvation. (to the Witness Romano, Speech A)
Evidence of His Wickedness
What can I do? You have a philanthropic Lord! It is because He prefers to be blasphemed by you with evil words, instead of handing you over to the demons in order for you to learn from first-hand experience how they govern things. If you had such and experience, you would be well-acquainted with their vehemence.
But I can now make it apparent to you with just one small example. Christ was met by some demon possessed people, who were coming out of the tombs, and they asked Him to allow them to enter a herd of swine. He allowed them to do so. They entered the herd of swine and immediately threw them over the cliff.
This is how demons govern, even though they had no reason to do so with the herd of swine. However, with you it is different because, with you, there exists and irreconcilable battle, undying animosity, and a relentless war.
Since they couldn't, even for a brief moment, tolerate the swine, with which they had nothing in common, could you imagine what they would do to us if they had the authority to; we who are their enemies and continually bite at them? For this reason, God allowed them to pounce into the herd of swine, in order for you to learn of their tremendous malice for unintelligent animals. It is also evident to everyone, that they would have done the same to those who were demon-possessed; that is to all those who were possessed and living with their insanity, were they not subject to God's Providence even then.
Now, if you come across a person who is disturbed and agitated by a demon, then pray to The Lord and learn about the animosity of the demons. You will be able to observe both these things in those who are possessed by demons. That is, the evilness of the demons and also the philanthropy of God may be observed in the case of the demoniacs.
You can also see the wickedness when they disturb and confuse the soul of the demoniac. You will be able to notice your philanthropic God, when such a wild and strong demon which lives inside him and desires man's downfall, is contained and impeded. The demon is not permitted to use all of his strength but is allowed to show only the amount of his strength which is enough to reform the person and to reveal his own hatred.
(To be continued)
[Please note: By "Magic" is not meant type of magic tricks. The translation should on the word "MAGHIA" (Μάγια) which means the occult, witchcraft, sorcery, evil, etc.
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-St. John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God