Don’t blame the Devil for your sin; Angels: Day 161

It’s true that the devil tempts us to sin, says St. Cyril of  Jerusalem. But the sin itself  is entirely our own doing. We have the power to give in or to resist.But you may say, “What can sin be? Is it a living thing? An angel? An evil spirit? What is this working inside us?”It is not an enemy from outside fighting with you, but a shoot of evil growing from inside you. “Let your eyes look directly forward” (Prov. 4:25), and lust does not exist. Keep what is yours, and do not take what is … [Read more...]

Angels suggest, but we choose; Angels: Days 160

Quoting two very early Christian writers, Origen tells us that an evil angel might suggest an evil thought, and a good angel a good thought. But in either case we have free will: we can choose to do evil or good.That certain thoughts are suggested to our hearts either by good or evil angels, is shown both by the angel that accompanied Tobias (in the book of Tobit), and by the language of the prophet, where he says, “The angel who talked with me said” (Zech. 1:9).The book of the Shepherd d … [Read more...]

Sinners are Satan’s grave; Angels: Day 159

When our sins let Satan into our hearts, says St. Gregory the Great, our hearts become so many graves for the doomed spirit, who is bound for eternal death— and ready to take us with him.There is a great difference between the natures of human beings and angels. But those who are bound together by one and the same guilt in sin are caught in the same punishment.The prophet conveys this in a few short words when he says, “Assyria is there, and all her company, their graves round about her” … [Read more...]

Strength in weakness; Angels: Day 158

The devil has the perfection of  an angel, says St. Augustine, and that makes him proud. Our weakness  and mortality  should help us overcome pride and confess that we can do nothing without God.Man offended by a kind of strength, so it had to be corrected by weakness. We offended by a certain pride, so it had to be chastened by humility.All proud people call themselves strong. But “many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heave … [Read more...]

Pride make you think you’re an angel; Angels: Day 157

It’s easy to get all puffed up with even the humblest  honor, says Sulpitius Severus. If the Church puts you in a position of responsibility, you may think you’re some sort of But you’re not. You’re just making a fool of yourself.But when I think about these things, it occurs to me how unhappy and weak we are. Who is there among us who isn’t elated with pride right away, or puffed up with vanity, if one miserable fellow has greeted us humbly, or one woman has given us foolish and flattering c … [Read more...]

Act like a demon, become a demon; Angels: Day 156

People were often superstitious in St. John Chrysostom’s  day, and many of the uneducated were afraid of  ghosts. St. John says that it’s not dying a violent death that makes you an evil spirit: it’s acting like an evil spirit.Here, before I go on, I want to remove a wrong impression from your minds. For it is a fact that many of the less instructed think that the souls of those who die a violent death become wandering spirits. But this is not so. I repeat: it is not so.It isn’t the souls … [Read more...]