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We must always remain vigilant

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screwtape-devil-webVatican City (AsiaNews) - "We must always remain vigilant, on guard against deception, against the seduction of evil " , because the devil , against whom Jesus truly fought and won , " always tries to come back," to "take possession of us. "

Today's Gospel in which Jesus responds to some who accuse him of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub, gave Pope Francis occasion to warn about the reality of the struggle against the devil, for which he offered three "criteria" of " vigilance. "

During the Mass celebrated this morning at Casa Santa Marta , the Pope , as reported by Vatican Radio, noted that all along, " and even in our days " , there is the temptation to belittle the figure of Jesus.

"Some priests when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say : ' But , Jesus healed a person from a mental illness .' The do not read this here , right? It 's true that at that time you could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession , but it is also true that there was the devil ! And we have no right to simplify the thing, as if to say : 'They were not possessed ; they were mentally ill .' no! The presence of the devil is in the first page of the Bible and the Bible ends with the presence of the devil, with God's victory over the devil. "

For this reason "we must not be naive". The Pope , therefore, observed that the Lord gives us some criteria to " discern " the presence of evil and to chose "the Christian path when there are temptations ." One of the criteria is "not to follow Jesus' victory over evil "only "halfway". "You're either with me - says the Lord - or you're against me." Jesus came to destroy the devil, "to liberate us" from the " slavery of the devil upon us ." And you can not say that this is an "exaggeration" . "At this point there are no grey areas. There is a battle, a battle where salvation is in play, eternal salvation , eternal salvation " for all of us. Then there is the criterion of vigilance. "We must always remain vigilant, on guard against deception, against the seduction of the evil one".

"And we should ask ourselves this question: 'Am I watching over myself, my heart, my sentiments, my thoughts? Do I still preserve the treasure of grace? Do I still preserve the presence of the Holy Spirit in me, or do I leave it, certain in the belief it is? ' But if you do not safeguard it, along comes someone stronger than you . But when someone stronger attacks it and overcomes it, he takes away the weapons in which one trusted, and divides the spoil. Vigilance ! With three criteria: Do not confuse the truth . Jesus fought against the devil: the first criterion . Second criteria: whoever is not with Jesus, it is against Jesus, there is no halfway. Third criterion: keep guard of our hearts , because the devil is cunning . He is never completely banished, only on the last day will he be. "

Jesus said that when the unclean spirit leaves someone " it haunts desert places , seeking rest and finding none it says : 'I will return to the house from which I came .' And when he finds it " swept and decorated". Then it goes "gathers seven other spirits more wicked than itself , and they take up their abode are". And so , "the last state of that man becomes worse than it first was".

"Vigilance! Because his strategy is this: 'You became Christian. Advance in your faith. I will leave you. I will leave you tranquil. But then when you are used to not being so watchful and you feel secure, I will come back'. The Gospel today begins with the devil being cast out and ends with the devil coming back! St. Peter would say: 'It is like a fierce lion that circles us'. It is like that. 'But, Father, you a little ancient. You are frightening us with these things...' No, not me! It is the Gospel! And these are not lies: it is the Word of the Lord! Let us ask the Lord for the grace to take these things seriously. He came to fight for our salvation. He conquered the devil ! Please do not do business with the devil ! He tries to find his home, to take possession of us ... Do not relativize this, be on guard! And always with Jesus! "

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