I saw recently this very cool painting by Michael Pacher, a Tyroler (+1498) of St. Wolfgang. Since I didn’t know of this episode in the life of the saint, I was pretty intrigued, since this depicts an obvious moment of sacred liturgy during which Ol’ Scratch is holding the book.
A couple initial observations.
First, the Devil must be in complete agony while doing this. Good! However, the Devil must have been duped into doing this by the saint. The Enemy must have thought this was a malevolent victory of some sort, to have endured this pain and humiliation.
What’s up here?
As the story goes, St. Wolfgang was determined to build a church. Somehow, the Devil got involved and offered to help build the church and even consecrate it, provided that he, the Devil, would be able to keep the first one to cross its threshold. Fortunately, the first one across the threshold was a wolf, rather than a human being, so the Enemy lost again.