THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Her Doctrine and Morals

Third Sunday in Lent

8 March 2015

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Dear Friend,

The man in today's Gospel is both blind and dumb (mute). Every man is blind who does not follow the Light (Jesus Christ). "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me does not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life." (John 8, 12). Likewise, every man is dumb who does not repent and confess his sins, and does not know how to open his mouth in the praise of God.

The man who chooses to live in mortal sin, truly lives with a devil. He often blinds himself to his miserable condition and refuses to hear any reproaches, especially those that come directly from God. This devil binds the tongue to keep him from ever confessing his sins and thus dismissing this devil from himself. It is truly a tremendous grace of God when the sinner is able to make a good and true confession and chase this devil out of his life.

This devil, however, does not want to go and he will come back time and time again seeking to reenter this soul. As long as the grace of God lives in the soul, and the praises of God flow freely and frequently from his mouth, the devil is kept at bay. However, when men grow lax or careless in their devotions — when charity is allowed to grow cold, and men become lukewarm — then the devil returns and he sees his previous house swept and adorned, and ready for his return. The devil now seeks to gain an even stronger hold upon this soul than he previously had. To accomplish this, he obtains the aid of seven other devils that are worse than himself and then, they all together take possession of this soul. The sad state of this soul is much worse than it ever was.

Because devils are spirits without physical bodies we are often blind to their existence. The same is true of God and the angels: they are spirits without bodies, and therefore, we more often than not, are blind to their existence. Being blind to their existence, we also become dumb in the praises of God and the condemnation of the devils. Our tongues are mute when they should be calling out for Divine help.

In today's Gospel, Jesus would have us learn of the urgency of our spiritual safety. We should always strive to maintain our baptismal innocence. If we have had the misfortune to have lost this innocence, to a devil, He would have us call out to Him from our blindness and renounce this devil once again, as we did in our baptism. We must run him out. Once the devil has been displaced, we must strive with even greater solicitude to keep the spiritual realities before our minds' eye; so as not to allow him even the slightest opportunity to return.

The devils only require a small opening to enter therefore, we must be vigilant to keep our souls filled with the grace of God, so there is no room for the devils to enter in. Jesus would have us pray without ceasing. We are to pray for God's protection and His help so that we might have the grace of perseverance. It is not enough to have just begun well, or to have given it many false starts. It is the state in which we leave this world that determines our fate for all of eternity.

The devils strive to have us forget the spiritual world all around us. They love nothing more than to make us into materialists without any thought of the spiritual world all around us. It is in this manner that the majority of men forget about God and their dependence upon Him. In this blind and mute state, men are prime real-estate for the devils.

If we have experienced the difficulty of freeing ourselves from one devil, then we should have a deep understanding of the difficulty of chasing out this devil again. Only this time, he is strengthened with his seven other evil companions. What was hard to accomplish earlier, becomes nearly impossible once this complete octave of demons has entered in. However, we must not lose hope; what is impossible to men is easy for God.

God has given us, through The Church, all that we need to chase out the single devil as well as the octave of devils. We only need to call out to God in prayer. We need to open out mouths and not remain demonically mute. We need to approach God in the Sacraments (especially in Penance and the Holy Eucharist), and make use of the sacramentals that He has given us. Every Catholic should have holy water on hand. We should bless ourselves, our homes, our food, and all things. In this manner, we dedicate them to God and drive the devils from them. We constantly remind ourselves of the reality of the spiritual world around us, and we keep from growing cold and falling into the evil of materialism.

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