Quotations from Saint Josemaria
The Mute Devil
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and the scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and ran up to him and greeted him.
And he asked them, what are you discussing with them? And one of the crowd answered him. Teacher, I brought my son to you for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.
And he answered them, O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.
And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately,. it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.
And Jesus asked his father, How long has he had this? And he said, From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.
And Jesus said to him, If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, I believe; help my unbelief!
And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.
And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, He is dead.
But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could we not cast it out? And he said to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting (Mt 9:14-29).
«Just because we discover how fragile we are is no reason to run away from God. What we must do is to attack our defects, precisely because we know that God trusts us.
«How shall we be able to overcome our meanness? Let me make the point again because it is so important: by being humble and by being sincere in spiritual direction and in the sacrament of Penance. Go to those who direct your souls with your hearts open wide. Do not close your hearts, for if the dumb devil gets in, it is very difficult to get rid of him.
«Forgive me for insisting on these points, but I believe it is absolutely necessary for you to have deeply impressed on your minds the fact that humility, together with its immediate consequence, sincerity, are the thread which links the other means together. These two virtues act as a foundation on which a solid victory can be built. If the dumb devil gets inside a soul, he ruins everything. On the other hand, if he is cast out immediately, everything turns out well; we are happy and life goes forward properly. Let us always be brutally sincere, but in a good-mannered way.
«I want one thing to be clear: I am not as worried about the heart or the flesh as I am about pride. Be humble. If you ever think that you are completely and utterly right, you are not right at all. Go to spiritual direction with your soul wide open. Don’t close it because, I repeat, the dumb devil will get in, and it is difficult to get him out again.
«Remember the poor boy who was possessed by a devil, and the disciples were unable to set him free. Only our Lord could free him, by prayer and fasting. On that occasion the Master worked three miracles. The first enabled the boy to hear because, when the dumb devil gets control, the soul refuses to listen. The second made him speak, and the third expelled the devil.
«Tell first what you would not like to be known. Down with the dumb devil! By turning some small matter over and over in your mind, you will make it snowball into something big, with you trapped inside. What’s the point of doing that? Open up your soul! I promise that you will be happy, that is, faithful to your Christian way, if you are sincere. Clarity and simplicity: they are absolutely necessary dispositions. We have to open up our souls completely, so that the God's sunshine and the charity of Love can enter in.
«It is not necessarily bad will that prevents people from being utterly sincere. Sometimes they may simply have an erroneous conscience. Some people have so formed, or rather deformed, their consciences that they think their inability to speak, their lack of simplicity, is something good. They think it is good to remain silent. This can even happen to people who have received an excellent training and know the things of God. This may indeed be what is convincing them that they should not speak out. But they are wrong. Sincerity is a must, always. There are no valid excuses, no matter how good they seem.»
Friends of God, 187-188