Devil destroys overtly or slyly by pretending to be a friend, pope says

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The devil is more dangerous when he
is polite and friendly, persuading people to be “lukewarm” and
worldly, than when he shows his true face and blatantly pushes people to sin,
Pope Francis said.

The vocation or “nature of the devil is to destroy”
what God has created, the pope said Oct. 12 in his homily during morning Mass
in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

When the devil is unable to destroy something directly,
through conflict or vices, he looks for another, sneakier way to attack because
he is “slier than a fox,” the pope said.

The battle between good and evil is being fought even
inside each person, “perhaps unbeknownst to us, but we are in battle,”
he said.

“We Christians, Catholics, we go to Mass, pray,”
admit to having some flaws and recognize a few “little sins, but all seems
to be in order,” the pope said.

That is when the devil puts on a friendly face, “he
goes and looks for a nice-looking clique, knocks on the door, ‘Hello? May I
come in?’ He rings the doorbell,” Pope Francis said, reflecting on the
day’s Gospel reading (Lk 11:15-26). The passage talks about an unclean spirit that
is cast from his “home” and then “brings back seven other spirits
more wicked than itself” to move back in and make the person’s situation
worse than before.

“These well-mannered demons are worse than the first
because you don’t realize that you have them there at home,” inside oneself,
he said.

These demons, “don’t make noise, they make friends,
they persuade you,” convincing people that it is OK to become mediocre, “lukewarm”
and worldly.

“So often I ask myself, which is worse in a person’s
life,” the devil trapping people into obvious sin, which leads them to
feel ashamed, or a well-mannered devil who “is at your table, lives with
you and all seems normal, but he makes insinuations and possesses you with the
worldly spirit?” he asked.

Therefore, the pope said, people need to be calmly vigilant
against falling into “spiritual mediocrity,” which “corrupts us
from within.”

People must ask themselves: “What is happening in my
heart? Why am I so mediocre? Why am I so lukewarm? How many polite ones live at
home without paying rent?”

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