Friday, October 29, 2010

For Even the Demons Know Our Lord...

As the pagan world celebrates Halloween, enjoying the adornment of ghouls, ghosts, and goblins, we should reflect on what the Church teaches about demons.

Throughout Scripture, we read stories and learn about humanity's encounter with demons (devils).  One very telling story from the New Testament describes Christ's encounter with a man possessed of demons.  Taken from the Gospel according to St. Luke 8:26-39, which was the Gospel lesson from last week (October 24th for the Antiochians & Greeks) and this week (October 31st for the OCA) we read:

Then they arrived at the country of the Ger'asenes, which is opposite Galilee.  And as he stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in a house but among the tombs.  When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech you, do not torment me."  For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert).  Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him.  And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.  Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged him to let them enter these.  So he gave them leave.  Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.  When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country.  Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.  And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed.  Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Ger'asenes asked him to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so he got into the boat and returned.  The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but he sent him away, saying,  "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you."  And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.

As we discuss Halloween and how the world celebrates this pagan holiday, we should know the reality of Christianity and how evil spirits make their attempt to destroy humanity.  They try and use God's gift of free will against us.  Our pastor at St. George Houston, the Very Rev. Fr. John Salem has said numerous times that "the Devil only has as much power as we give him."  When evil enters the world, its due to our lack of love in Christ towards one another.  The demons know God and His power and might.  They recognize Him and know what torments await them for having denied our Lord.

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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