Supernatural Normalcy

What does the devil hate? Supernatural normalcy. When considering conflict with Satan some people think it is all about crucifixes and holy water and exorcisms and putting on the spiritual armor of God and wading into battle like mortal versions of St Michael the Archangel. That’s not for us. We best trample down the head of Satan through supernatural normalcy.

What do I mean by ‘supernatural normalcy’? First you have to start by understanding Satan and all his works. Satan has nothing original in his toolkit. He can’t create sin because sin is the absence of grace or the distortion of something good. God made everything and everything he made is good. Evil is therefore nothing positive in itself, but the perversion and destruction and distortion of all that is good. It follow therefore that Satan loves everything that is perverted, twisted, destroyed and diseased. He can’t do anything good or create anything good. All he can do is twist or attempt to destroy that which is good.

What does Satan hate therefore? He hates all that is natural and free and good and wholesome and normal and fine and happy and whole. He hates good Catholic families. He hates ordinary Catholics who work hard, pray hard, laugh hard and who love God, love life, love one another and live life to the full. This ordinary, grace-filled natural life of faith is what he hates with a passion. I call  it ‘supernatural normalcy’ because these are the saints that fill our pews. These are the people of God. These are the ones who live out their faith best they can in the ordinary ups and downs of life. They try hard. They make mistakes, they go to confession with open hearts. They try to love God and others. They are the blessed ones and the ones who give the blessing. They are truly the children of God. They do not seem to be extraordinary and stupendous. They do not seem to be saints even–but that is because they are humble and hidden. They naturally follow the ‘Little Way’ of St Therese.

This way of ‘supernatural normalcy’ is the way of the Blessed Virgin. She doesn’t jump out from the pages of the New Testament as some sort of Superwoman or Heroic Saint. That’s because she is ordinary. She if ‘full of grace’ and therefore she seems to be totally and utterly natural and real. She is all that she was created to be and therefore she does not seem to be extraordinary. She is as natural and beautiful as a morning in May. She is as natural and virginal as a virgin forest.

It therefore takes a discerning spirit and a finely tuned spiritual sense to find such souls. They are difficult to find not only because they are humble and hidden, but because they are ‘normal’. If you told them they were holy and that you wanted to sit at their feet they would laugh and tell you they are not holy and that you have made a mistake. They don’t seem extraordinary, and yet for those who have eyes to see they are very extraordinary indeed.

This is the way of ‘supernatural normalcy’, and if you really want to trample Satan’s head–pray for the grace to be transformed in this way.

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  • presbanglican

    Very good reflection…in my presbyterian world, it appears that we have successfully rationalized away the mystical and demythologized the devil; so it is refreshing to hear such normalcy…keep up the good work!

  • Deacon Nathan Allen

    Evelyn Waugh's friend John Bejteman expressed his puzzlement at Waugh's book on St Helena, commenting that the heroine "doesn't seem like a saint" because she seemed so ordinary. Waugh's response: "Saints are simply souls in heaven. Some people have been so sensationally holy in life in life that we know they went straight to heaven and so put them in the calendar. We all have to become saints before we get to heaven. That is what purgatory is for. And each individual has his own peculiar form of sanctity which he must achieve or perish. It is no good my saying: 'I wish I were like Joan of Arc or St. John of the Cross.' I can only be St. Evelyn Waugh — after God knows what experiences in purgatory."

  • catholicsoccermom

    thank you so much for the reminder! I've been feeling quite a bit like God is using my homeschooling life to sanctify me. (Linked to you here.

  • Greg

    That's a fantastic quote, Nathan. Can you give a source for it? I'd like to add that to my notebook.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Jewish quote:"Zusya, God will not ask you, 'Why were you not more like Moses?' He will ask you, 'Why were you not more like Zusya?'"

  • Deacon Nathan Allen

    @Greg: I initially came across the quotation in a 1993 essay by George Weigel in First Things (available online at It's from a letter to Bejteman that is I believe reprinted in a collection of Letters of Evelyn Waugh (Mark Amory, ed.) which I don't have at hand or I'd give you the full citation to page.

  • Deacon Nathan Allen

    @Greg: I've found the full citation. Evelyn Waugh, The Letters of Evelyn Waugh, ed. by Mark Amory (New Haven, Connecticut: Ticknor & Fields, 1980), p. 339.

  • Anthony S. Layne

    Wow—great post with great quotes in the combox! Father, do you have the source on the "Zusya" quote? I'm adding it to my notebook as well.

  • Sal

    "Calendar" saint have what we call a 'vocation to notoriety' (using the term in a good way).They are inspirations, not blueprints.As a wise old Episcopal clergyman used to tell his instruction class:"I could live St. Francis's life in every respect and I would go to hell. Because that was his life, not mine."

  • blessed even more

    First of all, blessings are not for men to decide who has them or not. Also your concept only speaks of the two paths of the tree of life. Satan would prefer for you to forget god altogether, but since he can’t make you do that, he tries to conform everyone to the left or right, knowing the whole time that true divinity does not divide the two planes. Its not good vs evil like he has you all thinking. Its the combination of the male and female influences that will ascend you. To get stuck on the left or right is to miss it altogether. God wants us in balance. Jesus was not exactly the model citizen for modern christianity. People need to learn to love and know jesus instead of loving and knowing their religion. Also satan loves normalcy when its shrouded in confusion and misinterpritation. So your search for constant normalcy has got you traveling the wrong direction.