Demons, Satanism and other related phenomena are quite topical today, and they disturb a great part of our society.
Our technological and industrialized world is filled with magicians, wizards, occultism, spiritualism, fortune tellers, spell trafficking, amulets, as well as very real Satanic sects. Chased away from the door, the devil has come in through the window. Chased away by the faith, he has returned by way of superstition.
The episode of Jesus' temptations in the desert that is read on the First Sunday of Lent helps us to have some clarity on this subject. First of all, do demons exist? That is, does the word "demon" truly indicate some personal being with intelligence and will, or is it simply a symbol, a manner of speaking that refers to the sum of the world's moral evil, the collective unconscious, collective alienation, etc.?
Many intellectuals do not believe in demons in the first sense. But it must be noted that many great writers, such as Goethe and Dostoyevsky, took Satan's existence very seriously. Baudelaire, who was certainly no angel, said that "the demon's greatest trick is to make people believe that he does not exist."
Read the rest of the article by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap. here.
H/T today's meditation of the day, The Magnificat, October 2010.