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Driving Out Satan

  • FATHER SIMON TUGWELL, O.P.

Death itself is doomed, evil must eventually collapse upon its own hollowness.


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ChristMoneyChangersChrist Driving the Money-changers from the Temple by Theodoor Rombouts, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The whole "world" of sin is being eaten away from inside by the worm of salvation. The evil and disorder in ourselves, the evil and disorder that attack us from outside, all that is subject is fatality: it must die, and there will be an end of it. But meantime the inner man is being made new by the Spirit of God (see 2 Co 4:16).

That is the victory that bursts forth in thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the vigour, the triumphalism, of faith. The old monks regarded psalmody as a great weapon against the devil; Alexander Akoimetes, in the best Syrian tradition, calls the psalter our "whole spiritual armour", and Saint Anthony once said "I psalmed down the devil." And indeed, one of the psalms says in so many words: you have found praise to foil your enemy (Ps 8:3)...

It is the atmosphere of jubilee that reinforces our own hearts against the insidious attack of devilry, whose aim is always to undermine our hope. The devil is not interested in possessing our bodies, except perhaps as an incidental amusement, and he detests the carnal sins he incites us to commit—he is, after all, a fastidious spirit. What he wants is to make us despair and conclude that all is darkness, everywhere, for all time. It is against this creeping insinuation that we sing and shout "Alleluia!"

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Acknowledgement

Father Simon Tugwell, o.p. "Driving Out Satan," from Prayer in Practice. Templegate Publishers (1974).

Printed in the November 2023 edition of Magnificat. Used with permission.

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The Author

Copyright © 1974 Templegate Publishers
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