Fear - The Crushing Hammer of Satan

"In the world, you will only find tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

As in the monumental scene in the cinematic portrayal of Lord of the Rings, the evil character looked upon the White City, the “City of Kings,” and grinned, stating, “Fear – the city is rank with it!”

This fear, which his demonic capabilities allowed him to detect, meant that the city, once righteous and undefeatable, was now ready to be destroyed.

And how did this great city become paralyzed by fear and vulnerable to the Enemy’s attack?  They became weak, corrupt, and leaderless.

So, too, today, mankind, and most members of the Church, have become spiritually weak, morally corrupted, and without the shepherding they need in order to discern well the good and the evil.

Thus, like the citizens of the White City, which for Tolkien, a devout Catholic, was a symbol of righteousness, analogous to the members of Christ’s Mystical Body, we have also become crippled by fear as a result of the moral and the spiritual corruption which has metastasized and festered throughout the body of mankind.

Thus, without the armor of grace and the shield of righteousness, we are not capable of sensing, dodging, or blocking the darts which are shot toward us by the armies of darkness. Arrayed as they are on all sides, and seeking all entry points that they can discern, the darts that are being sent toward us are legion.  


Our Help and Our Defense

Facing such an overwhelming opposition, and as weak as we are, our world has embraced a spirit of fear – a demon. But cowering in fear does not rescue us from the danger – it poisons us with itself. 

The demon of fear is aggressive and possessive.

While our help and our defense can only be, and must be, the Lord, what we have done is taken shelter in the world at large. We speak as they speak, dress as they dress, watch what they watch, buy what they buy, teach what they teach, love what they love, celebrate what they celebrate, and submit to the same authorities to which they submit.

Our help and our defense is no longer the Divine Person of Our Lord but an ideology of conformity. 

“Go along to get along,” or some such poisonous thought. If we fit in, we’ll get by. If we pick our battles, we’ll win the long game. If we are savvy with our words, we’ll keep our livelihood and be able to raise our children undisturbed.

All the while, the culture grows exponentially more evil. As we offer our soft oppositions and peaceful protests, the Kingdom of Satan daily establishes its reign more concretely.

The Demon of Fear

In this state of compliance, where we treasure the small victories, and hope that God will simply "sort things out one day," the zeal of the Prophets, Saints, and Martyrs grows cold and apathetic. There are few true spiritual heroes on the scene these days.

And why is this, besides what has been said above?  Mortal sin.

A key ingredient in the diabolical stronghold which Satan can establish in a person, mortal sin is as ubiquitous today as the air we breathe. With the aid of the invasive technology we all carry with us everywhere we go, the devil has us quite extensively programmable, thus the conformity mentioned above.

This conformity is a conformity to evil. Think about the statistics of fornication, pornography, contraception, abortion, divorce, and homosexuality, just as atrocious among members of the Church as those of the world.  Coupled with these is the rejection of the doctrines and practices of the Faith among Catholics, not to mention the ever-present emotional manipulation from the media and entertainment industries. 

We are a White City filled merely with the bones of the righteous.

So, when the armies of darkness, the principalities and powers with which we daily do battle, align and surround our world today, they seek to pummel us with fear in order to drive us away from hope and imprison us in the repetition of our sins.

The Rite of Exorcism Calls Out this Diabolical Effort

In the prayers in the Rite of Exorcism, from the traditional Roman Ritual, we learn what the Church understands the devil to be up to in this campaign of fear. As it states, by falling prey to "the craftiness of the devil, the ancient adversary, the archenemy of the earth,” the possessed person suffers from an onslaught of torment. The devil “enshrouds the person in shuddering fear,” “renders the mental faculties befuddled,” “keeps him bewildered by making him sore afraid,” “holds him in a state of perturbation,” and “strikes terror within him.”

These details paint a clear picture that the demon who possesses a person is dedicated to “tormenting” the person by immersing the person in the full experience of the dark atmosphere which characterizes the demon’s own experience of life after his fall.  The demon’s enduring effort is to crush the person with fear.

The exorcist, during the Rite, implores the Lord to protect the person and shelter the person in specific ways that seek to counteract the technique of the diabolical assault. We should heed these as they are guidelines for keeping peace and hope in our own souls, that we may not succumb to the subtle corrosive efforts of the devil.

The priests here prays that Our Lord will, “keep watch over his reason,” “rule over his emotions,” “bring cheer to his heart,” and “cause the one who has terrorized us to now himself fly terror-stricken.”

Litany of Condemnation in the Rite of Exorcism

Further, throughout the Rite, there is essentially a litany, albeit broken in parts, of condemnation of the devil for the specific ways in which he attacks man. Again, as mentioned above, these are worthy of our reflection, for these are the ways in which the devil attacks us not only in our own internal lives but also in our lives within the world at large, as well as the world itself.

The devil, “a horrible creature, a monster,” is labeled as the instigator of all imaginable evils by which man may destroy himself and his relationship with God.

His global impact is acknowledged when the Church condemns him as “the foe of the human race,” “the shirker of justice,” “the traitor of nations,” and “the source of discord.”

This institutional attack is also seen to take place against the Church herself. The devil is here condemned as “the enemy of the faith,” “the leader in sacrilege,” “the teacher of heretics,” and “the seducer full of deceit and perfidy.”

The devil’s efforts are then, of course, directed at the soul of every man and woman on the planet, from Adam to the last generation who will breathe the air of this world. Thus, he is condemned as “the root of all evil,” “the seducer of men,” “the model of vileness,” “the inventor of every obscenity,” “the author of lechery [lust],” and “the persecutor of the innocent.”

These attributes lead the devil to the works which earn him the condemnation of the Church with the labels “the enemy of virtue,” “the fomentor of vice,” “the instigator of envy,” and “the font of avarice.”

The end result of all of the works of the devil is that he is “the robber of life,” “the carrier of death,” “the prince of accursed murder,” and “the exciter of sorrows!”

Berated by this enemy and his army, mankind will surely fall under the weight of evil which he pours forth like fire upon the earth, if we do not cling to Christ and the treasury of the Church which He opens wide before us.

The fire of the devil’s wrath is easily extinguished by Christ’s treasury of grace opened wide for all the world to receive.

God is Our Help and Our Shield

This crushing hammer of Satan’s fear-mongering beguilement is not infallible and can actually be easily prevented, though less easily removed once it has infected a person. Both require great effort and the intercession of the Holy Church which Christ Our Lord established for our protection and salvation.

The Rite of Exorcism ends its combat with the devil by issuing its command that the demon depart, first by invoking the imagery of mankind’s dignity, the same dignity which the demon sought to undermine and defile. The demon, under the authority and coercion of the Church, is commanded to “be afraid of the body of man, be in dread of the image of God” which man is and which he bears, for “it has pleased Christ to take up His dwelling in man.”

The Rite provides an antidote to our fear, stating that we need not fear Satan if we cling to Christ, because Christ has “stripped thee of thy might and laid waste thy kingdom; He has overcome thee and put thee in chains, and has blown up thy war materials.” 

At the end of this combat, the Rite beseeches Our Lord to bestow upon the possessed the spirit of peace and the end of fear. It says, “Let there enter into this man a disposition of goodness and the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have been redeemed, and let us fear no evil, because the Lord is with us.”

Indeed, if the Lord is with us, the traps and snares of the Enemy will be exposed and his attempts against us will be thwarted.  However, if we live in a state of lukewarm faith, or outside of a state of grace, the devil can more easily cover us in his darkness and begin again his campaign of fear.

Apply the wisdom of spiritual warfare, and its weapons, which the Church imparts to us.  Learn the Truth.  Live the Truth.  Be at peace.

Hold fast.


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  1. Thanks for posting this excellent and important article!

    1. Thank you! Please share! I am glad you found it helpful.


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