According to the Talmud, the demons are more numerous than we are. “They stand over us like mounds of earth surrounding a pit.” Rav Huna teaches that “each and every one of us has a thousand demons to his left and ten thousand to his right.” Abba Binyamin tells us that “if the eye had the power to see, no creature would be able to withstand the demons.” Fourteen centuries before Lovecraft, the Talmudists knew that what we see is only the tiniest portion of what’s really there, and the rest is monsters. Our ordinary world, the one in which we work and fall in love and watch TV—it’s thinner than paper, and the demons pour through it in hordes. This planet isn’t our home; it’s a hive. And though seeing the demons is fatal, the rabbis tell you how it may be done. Scatter a circle of fine black ashes around your bed at night, and in the morning, you will see their footprints, their claws like a rooster’s, their terrible number. What they don’t tell you is how you will ever sleep comfortably again.
I post this link not because I am entirely satisfied with the Jewish angelology, but because of something I wrote yesterday.
Yesterday I mused about the number of priests and bishops who truly believe in the spiritual battle being waged around us at every moment, who truly believe in the difference between the sacred and the profane. Their actions and inactions, the manifest choices of many of the brethren, lead me to suspect that they don’t. There is a strong current of Modernism even among the well-meaning and even devout, well-meaning, hard-working clerics. They can hardly be blamed, given their formation and the domination of the world we live in. They’ve been taught to set aside the supernatural in favor of the natural.
Anyway, I posted that paragraph because – I’ll admit – I want to scare you a little.
If I am not entirely on side with Jewish angelology, that snippet conveys something of the attitude we should have about demons. Putting aside that disturbing imagery of their claw marks in the dust around your bed… yeah… they are around, alright. They are all around.
It has been surmised that for every moving thing in the cosmos, there is an angel. It is thought that a third of the angels fell and apostatized. I’ve seen one estimate that there are 1080 atoms in the universe and atoms are not the smallest moving particles. The angelic realm is far vaster than our imaginings. I sometimes wonder if God didn’t make the material cosmos so big so as to give us little humans some inkling of eternity.
Demons are relentless. They see everything. They never forget. They watch and learn about us from our outward actions and, like supernatural FBI profilers, know our ways and weaknesses.
Happily, demons are restrained by God. They are weaklings compared to the Holy Angels who guard us. They can be commanded to depart by priests.
The Devil, the Enemy, wants us to be prostrate with fear. But joy is one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t manifest joy, it may be that we should examine our consciences and get to confession soon. Yes, it is possible to get to confession for most people. Otherwise, try to make a perfect Act of Contrition.
Si vis pacem para bellum!
I think that bishops should exorcise their dioceses using the Rituale Romanum with Title XI Chapter III, the long St. Michael Prayer. Lay people should not use this prayer. Ever.
Bishops should give permission to all their priests to use the Rituale Romanum with Title XI Chapter III even publicly. (They can use it now privately, but it helps to have the bishop’s explicit authority. It must be done in Latin. I have some help for that. HERE For priests only.)
Priests should go around all the buildings of their parish grounds and bless them and the grounds. They should go through every room of their rectories and every nook and cranny of their churches. Say the exorcism (in Latin) and bless with Holy Water (properly blessed in Latin with the Rituale Romanum). Even use incense if you won’t set off the alarms.
This should be done in Latin. The Rituale Romanum states that the blessings and exorcisms must be done in Latin.
This is REAL, brothers. And you priests and bishops are in this war whether you want to be or not. To paraphrase, you might not be interested in demons, but demons are interested in you. Get into the fray.
How do you, as the point at the top makes, ever sleep comfortably again?
GO TO CONFESSION!
Use sacramentals well.
Ask for the priest’s blessing.
Receive the Blessed Sacrament in the state of grace.
Say your prayers and perform good works.
Be confident in the Church and in Christ’s promises.
That’ll do it.