Get ready to battle with the devil when you make a decision to serve God. Your decision makes him unhappy and he even gets more crossed with you when you not only serve God but equally decide to spread the Gospel. Some people had faced this battle in the past and St. Vianney was not spared.
Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney was a French priest who had life threatening encounters with the devil. He was a humble man who loved to teach profound truths of the Gospel and this brought him a lot of attention. Men and women would flock to his parish from miles around. That aspect of bringing people close to God was what the devil disliked most about him.
The devil tried all he could to physically assault him in order to prevent him from spreading the Gospel. At night, Vianney would hear taunts, harrowing voices, evil singing, or shouting. He was physically dragged from his bed and one night his bed caught on fire. The torment would prevent him from having much sleep, but it did not deter him from living a life of holiness.
Vianney would listen to confessions for sixteen hours each day and that made the devil even angrier with him but he accepted the torment from the devil because he knew the devil was attacking him for reconciling many souls to God. In his attacks, he realized that a simple sign of the cross can make the devil flee. He said, “the demon is very cunning, but he is not strong. Making a sign of the cross soon puts him to flight … when I made the Sign of the cross they departed”.
From the qualms between the devil and St. Vianney, it is confirmed that God cannot give one a task too difficult for him. This is supported by St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He said, ” God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it”. (1 Corinthians 10: 13) St. Jean Vianney’s sufferings strengthened his ministry of mercy showing that God is aware of all the sufferings we go through for the sake of the cross.
Satan’s daily temptations that we are all familiar with did not do anything to the saint. So the devil amped up his game and tried to scare the priest into submission. However, instead of cowering in his room and submitting to the will of Satan, Vianney received God’s grace to follow the will of the Father and remain faithful to the end.
Above all things Satan is a terrorist who never stops striking fear in our hearts, hoping that we will be afraid of him and thinks he is more powerful than God. Do not be afraid of the devil’s troubles, rather pray for the grace to carry on with the work of spreading the Gospel.
Summarized by Theresa Frances