I see the Bishop of Phoenix has preached a sermon on the devil!! http://www.catholicsun.org/bishop/082009bishop.html Its such a rare thing to hear of a priest, let alone a Bishop talk about the devil that my mouth falls open to hear of it. Come to think of it I can't quite recall the last time I heard a sermon about Our Blessed Mother. Saint John Vianney, the Cure of Ars is the Patron Saint of Parish Priests. When the priest conducts and exorcism St John Vianney is often one of the saints that is invoked to try to drive the demons out. The cure of Ars had a long running battle with the devil and for that reason they invoke his name. The first time the devil turned up making a great racket the poor priest thought it was burglars or local hoods so he recruited a local with his shotgun, an old blunderbuss to stand guard with him in the presbytery. Sure enough right on time the great noise started on the old cobble stoned court yard right outside his window.The noise was a bit like the sound of a large horse and carriage flying about. The Cure engouraged the local guy with the gun to go out and chase away the hoods but as he did so he saw that the man was shaking like a leaf and said to the priest. 'But look, see father, there is no one there'. The poor terrified guard reported that the Cure's face fell as he realised who was at it and he just told the very relieved local guy to go home. It seems Saint John clicked right away what was up. I read an interesting discussion on this between a prominent French atheist writer and a Catholic Professor on this. Why, the atheist wanted to know would someone as smart as the devil and so powerful waste his time in childish tricks like throwing stones at a priiests windows to keep him awake? But the Professor said that the devil is not like us. He is a Spirit , a fallen angel. He can put on or off intelligence as we put off and put on cloths so he can be as nasty and hateful as a spoilt child as he so chooses. I think its like this with the devil . His one big aim through our lives is to drag us off screaming to hell for all eternity..and yes there is a hell. But if he can't or isn't getting along too well with this he'll big do with causing us to suffer just as best as he can. For instance notice the next time you feel a little down. Pay attention to your thoughts and sometimes you will notice a whole stream of negative stuff pouring in, Like you're useless, you're a failure, no one likes you, what the use....'and on and on. If you really pay close attention you'll notice that these thoughts have a particular 'accent' kind of harsh and foreign to yourself...well thats the devil. Pay closer attention and you'll notice him popping up in more subtle ways. For instance ask yourself about the things you most daydream about. Its often a good clue about the kinda things the devil is tempting you with. If you read the stories of the Fathers of the Desert , when they go out there to pray one of the first things they meet out there is the devil. In just the same way that Jesus when he went into the desert met him. Here is a sermon from the god priest: THE SERVICE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN If I wanted to, I would show you that in all walks of life there have been great servants of the Blessed Virgin. I would find for you, among them, those who begged their bread from door to door. I would find for you, among them, those who lived in much the same sort of state in life as many of you. I would find them for you among the wealthy, and in great number, too. We read in the Gospel that our Lord always treated people with great tenderness, except for one type of people whom He treated with severity; these were the Pharisees, and they were so treated because they were proud and hardened in sin. They would willingly have hindered, if they could, the accomplishment of the will of the Father. What is more, our Lord called them "whited sepulchers, hypocrites, brood of vipers, offspring of vipers, who devour the breasts of their mothers." We can say the same thing on the subject of devotion to the Blessed Virgin. All Christians have a great devotion to Mary except those old and hardened sinners who, for a very long time, having lost the faith, wallow in the slime of their brute passions. The Devil tries to keep them in this state of blindness until that moment when death opens their eyes. Ah! If they had but the happiness to have recourse to Mary they would not fall into Hell, as will happen to them! No, my dear children, let us not imitate such people! On the contrary, let us follow the footsteps of all those true servants of Mary. Belonging to this number were St. Charles Borromeo, who always said his rosary on his knees. What is more, he fasted on all vigils of the feasts of the Blessed Virgin. He was so careful about saluting her on the stroke of the bell that when the Angelus rang, wherever he was, he went down on his knees, sometimes even in the middle of the road when it was full of mud. He desired that his whole diocese should have a great devotion to Mary and that her name would be uttered everywhere with the utmost respect. He had a number of chapels built in her honour. Now then, my dear brethren, why should not we imitate these great saints who obtained so many graces from Mary to preserve them from sin? Have we not the same enemies to fight, the same Heaven to hope for? Yes, Mary always has her eyes upon us. Do we suffer temptations? Let us turn our hearts towards Mary and we shall be delivered.