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I read this story from a friend’s blog and want to share it with you.

“Evil Wants Good to Prevail”
by Paulo Coelho

One day, the Persian poet, Rumi que Mo’avia, the first of the Ommiad caliphs, was sleeping in his palace when he was woken up by a strange man.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am Lucifer,” came the reply.

“And what do you want?”

“It is the hour for prayers, and yet you are still asleep.”

Mo’avia was amazed. Why was the Prince of Darkness, who seeks out the souls of men of little faith, reminding him to fulfil his religious duties?

“Remember,” Lucifer explained, “I was brought up as an angel of light. Despite everything that has happened to me, I cannot forget my origins. A man may travel to Rome or to Jerusalem, but he always carries the values of his own country in his heart. Well, the same thing happens with me. I still love the Creator, who nourished me when I was young and taught me to do good. When I rebelled against Him, it was not because I did not love Him; on the contrary, I loved Him so much that I felt jealous when He created Adam. At that moment, I wanted to defy the Lord, and that was my downfall; nevertheless, I still remember the blessings bestowed on me and hope that, perhaps, by doing good, I can one day return to paradise.”

Mo’avia replied: “I can’t believe what you’re saying. You have been responsible for the destruction of many people on earth.”

“Well, you SHOULD believe it,” insisted Lucifer. “Only God can build and destroy, because He is all-powerful. When He created man, He also created, as part of life, desire, vengeance, compassion, and fear. So when you look at the evil around you, don’t blame me; I merely reflect back the bad things that happen.”

Mo’avia was sure that something was wrong, and he began to pray desperately to God to enlighten him. He spent the whole night talking and arguing with Lucifer; but despite the brilliant arguments he heard, he remained unconvinced.

When day was dawning, Lucifer finally gave in and said:

“You’re right. When I came yesterday to wake you up so that you would not miss the hour of prayer, my intention was not to bring you closer to the Divine Light. I knew that if you failed to fulfil your obligations, you would feel profoundly sad and, over the next few days, would pray with twice the faith, asking forgiveness for having forgotten the correct ritual. In the eyes of God, each one of those prayers made with love and repentance would be equivalent to two hundred prayers said in an ordinary, automatic way. You would end up more purified and more inspired; God would love you more; and I would be still further from your soul.”

Lucifer vanished, and an angel of light took his place:

“Never forget today’s lesson,” the angel said to Mo’avia. “Sometimes evil comes disguised as an emissary of good, but its real intention is to cause more destruction.”

On that day, and the days that followed, Mo’avia prayed with repentance, compassion, and faith. His prayers were heard a thousand times by God.

- taken from “Like The Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho

Hebrews 2:5-12

God did not appoint angels to be rulers of the world to come, and that world is what we are talking about. Somewhere there is a passage that shows us this. It runs: What is man that you should spare a thought for him, the son of man that you should care for him? For a short while you made him lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and splendour. You have put him in command of everything. Well then, if he has put him in command of everything, he has left nothing which is not under his command. At present, it is true, we are not able to see that everything has been put under his command, but we do see in Jesus one who was for a short while made lower than the angels and is now crowned with glory and splendour because he submitted to death; by God’s grace he had to experience death for all mankind.

As it was his purpose to bring a great many of his sons into glory, it was appropriate that God, for whom everything exists and through whom everything exists, should make perfect, through suffering, the leader who would take them to their salvation. For the one who sanctifies, and the ones who are sanctified are of the same stock; that is why he openly calls them brothers in the text: I shall announce your name to my brothers, praise you in full assembly.

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit, and it shouted, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.” But Jesus said sharply, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” An the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. “Here is a teaching that is new,” they said, “and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.” And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

Our Catholic Church teaches us that God created only one kind of purely spiritual beings. Other than God himself, who is a spiritual being, the only other kind of purely spiritual being are angels. Ghosts are not purely spiritual beings because they are the spiritual part of humans which are supposed to be bonded to a human body, and one day will be.

Since God only created one kind of spiritual beings which are the angels, we know that there are good angels, which we call angels, and there are bad angels, which we call demons. Angels always lead us to God, demons always lead us away from God, whether it be to Satan or to ourselves, so long as it is not God they lead us to. This is why the Church forbids the practice of magic, sorcery, or any form of the occult that appeals to spirits, as these are not from God and will surely lead us away from God.

We read in today’s gospel that Jesus has power over unclean spirits, or demons. Since demons are of the same make as angels, so Jesus also has power over the angels. In fact, Satan recognises this when he tempts Jesus in the desert, telling him (and us) that the angels would rush to Jesus’ rescue “lest he hurt his foot on a stone”. We know that this is because Jesus is the centre of the universe. All things were made through and for Jesus, and everything Jesus does is for the Father.

This power that Jesus has over the angels and demons is shared with us, his brothers and sisters, through the Church. We too have power over demons, which is why our bishops and pope can exorcise them, but only through the power of Jesus. Anyone who tries to exorcise a demon based on his own power and for his own purposes will surely fail. But what about witch doctors and bomohs? They seem to be able to cast out demons, don’t they? They don’t do it on the authority of their own personal power, but they don’t exorcise the demons either. They do it differently from the Catholic Church.

The power of Jesus’ name is enough to cast out a demon because the demon knows that Jesus has authority over him. But remember that demons are actually bad angels. Being bad angels they still retain the same hierarchy that good angels have, and so, being demons, they still subscribe to a kind of authority to beings above them. When witch doctors and bomohs cast out demons, they are able to do so only because they use a higher demon to cast out the lower demon. So you see, the person who goes to a witch doctor or bomoh for healing thinks he is cured, but is actually in a worst state than before.

When we realise that all of creation pertaining to the spiritual world consists of God, the angels and demons, and the humans (until extraterrestrials are discovered), then we realise that when we turn to a spirit, it is either a good one or a bad one. There is no such thing as a helpful spirit unless it leads us to God, so do not be deceived when someone tells you that he or she practises only white magic, or uses the spirits to help people. That person himself or herself might not even know who it is that helps him or her to do it, and since demons are bad angels, they can surely appear in the form of a good angel, or in the form of Jesus even.

Take care not to be deceived, and learn how to properly discern good spirits from bad. Judge them by their fruits. More can be learnt through reading good books on the subject (ask for books on the subject at any of the major Catholic bookshops), or speaking with those who teach with the authority of Christ, such as Singapore Archdiocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal (SACCRE), at the Catholic Spirituality Centre, or at the Centre for Ignatian Spirituality and Counselling (for tools on discernment).

Dear Jesus, help us to always seek your kind of power and your kind of love. Keep us free from temptation to acquire power over others, or to acquire riches over generosity. Help us to submit ourselves with humility before you, and not to lord it over others. Give us the strength to resist temptation when we face it, so that we might grow towards better understanding of you. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Those who teach in the authority of Christ.

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