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Letter: 'Fierce, but without power'

Dear Editor,

I have noticed lately that in movies there is an increasing fascination with the supernatural and of the eternal battle between good and evil with a multitude of special effects to add to the drama and portray the horror of the evil one. It's usually depicted as being a close run thing though, as if there is something close to equality between the two sides, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I had a peculiar illustration of this recently following the long awaited opening of our parish's Adoration chapel. I try to visit most days and from that first day, each time I went, I was set upon by a vicious stray dog that came hurtling across the park snarling and barking stopping just short of the range of my umbrella.

This may sound trivial but it was every day, sometimes accompanied by a few other dogs that surrounded me as I approached the chapel. As days turned to weeks I was getting quite weary of this daily ritual, I even prayed for Moriarty (that's the dog's name).

During this time I was also reading a book about the life of St Anthony, the Egyptian hermit, and this was very insightful as being attacked by the devil in various guises, from packs of dogs, to serpents and insects was his bus ride to work. However he soon discovered one important fact ...they had no power. The devil even had to ask permission from God before he could do anything as in the trials of Job. In reality he was very much afraid of Anthony.

So one morning, approaching the chapel from a different road, I caught Moriarty unawares as he sat in the alley. He immediately recognized me and started barking and snarling but I just walked towards him and he started to run, turning occasionally to growl, but in retreat and I realized that it was all a ruse, that really he was afraid of me.

As the darkness of our world seems to be ever increasing it's worth noting that compared to God, the devil and his fallen angels are mere creatures, already a defeated enemy. The only way they have any power over us is if we give it to them, yielding to them usually through sin or fear. But as praying Christians, in a state of grace, we have nothing to fear, quite the contrary, we are conquerors and can apply Christ's victory with every moment or subject of prayer, ushering in the Kingdom of God and dispelling the darkness of evil.

Yours Sincerely

Stephen Clark

Manila, Philippines