We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us that there is nothing we can do in the face of violence, injustice and sin.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 24, 2013
Pope Francis does not shy away from talking about the devil, and people have started to notice. This comes as no surprise since Jesuits are trained early on in formation to be attentive to the movements of the Spirits of Light and Darkness, the Good Spirit and the “enemy of human nature.” Drawing on his years of experience as novice master, religious superior, and pastor, Francis called attention to the subtle activities of the devil, the dark spirit of pessimism, division and despair, in several exhortations. These talks of the devil or the “Evil One” can be confusing and jarring to the modern ear.
“I’ve heard some priests say the devil is only a metaphor for evil and not something real.” — Megan Chruszczyk (@MCruzyk) May 21, 2013
But whether or not we believe that demons actually look like the devil with horns and a tail, few would doubt that evil is real. In other words, there is a force – call it spiritual, psychological, biological, sociological, or whatever term we choose – that seeks to make us less than who we are and what we can become.
Though his comments on the Devil have garnered a lot of attention, there has been less talk about Pope Francis’s reminder that there is an opposite and stronger force, a stronger Spirit, that is always pushing back, fighting for our lives, and that humility and meekness are the prerequisites for sharing in that force.
Bringing the devil back into public discourse is not meant to cause fear and anxiety, but rather it is a way of shedding light on the subtle movements in us that affect our daily choices – for good or for ill.
Cover photo by Scott Kidder via Flickr.