October 31, Halloween, is for most people a time to attend parties, greet Trick or Treaters or for a few sit in a Pumpkin Patch and await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Some may enjoy watching Horror movies (not me) or visiting a Haunted House, Mine or Corn Field (again not me).
The general public looks on the supernatural decorations as just another form of merriment akin to the Easter Bunny or Frosty the Snowman. But it should be recognized that there is a darker side to the festivities and it is demonically driven.
For those who believe in the reality of a Spiritual realm, the existence of Good and Evil non-corporeal Beings are a fact. Some deliberately choose to associate with the dark cohort of this plane, often in an attempt to control the Demons to gain power for themselves (see this). Others solicit the aid of the Saints and their Guardian Angel to protect them from demonic attack. In this eternal Spiritual War, one name stands out as the ultimate battle-tested warrior, Saint Joseph.
While it is undeniable that the Virgin Mother Mary will crush the head of Satan and that Saint Michael the Archangel has already won a primeval battle against Satan and his legions, it is to Saint Joseph that the title Terror of Demons is given.
Mary is the most perfect creature in all of God’s creation. Michael is pure spirit and endowed by God with supernatural abilities to combat His enemies. How then is Saint Joseph able to be listed among these super-eminent beings? For that answer, we look to the Bible and the proclamations of some the Church’s Saints.
First it will do us well to explain why the demons attack us and how. The why is simple, they hate God and wish to hurt Him. They also take perverted joy in hurting any other creature they can. Their motives are driven primarily by pride and hatred of all humanity. Pride as they see themselves as superior to all others and desire the worship that is due only to God. Hate because it was through a human, the Virgin Mother Mary, that God acted to save the entire human race.
The Baltimore Catechism answers the question, “Why did God create us? God created us to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him and to be happy with Him for eternity in Heaven.” It is God’s eternal desire that all of His creatures choose to be with Him in indescribable bliss.
The demons are aware of this and know each time they trick a creature to reject God they hurt Him. It is really the only way they can inflict any pain on God. Jesus wept for the people who rejected Him. For the demons, they keep a tally in their futile battle against God by snatching our souls from their eternal rest. A hash mark on a scorecard is all we are to them.
The demons use our weaknesses in their battle against God. They learn we are greedy for money or lust after illicit physical pleasures. They encourage us to seek our ease to the point where we neglect our duties to others and to God. They fortify our notions of our own greatness, boasting of our innate talents instead of acknowledging them as the gifts from God they really are.
All of us are susceptible to these attacks because we have been weakened by the effects of Original Sin. Baptism cleanses us, but like a scar from a healed wound we are permanently marked. The Church teaches that Mary was given the singular grace of being immaculately conceived, that is, she never was tainted by the effects of Original Sin in preparation for her role as the Mother of God. It is also taught that Jeremiah and John the Baptist were also freed from the effects of Original Sin, prior to their birth, in preparation for their missions. But the mission of Saint Joseph to be the foster-father of the Son of God and the guardian of His Mother is greater than either the call of Jeremiah or John.
Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bernadine of Siena teach that God provides sufficient grace for the work He calls us to. In that light then, Joseph must have received a gift superior to that of both the Prophet and the Pre-Cursor. It is reasoned that Joseph was delivered from the effects of Original Sin immediately after his conception. By this gift, he was able to be in full conformity with his will which was to serve God and God alone.
Joseph experienced temptations like any human does, however, he was endowed with sufficient grace to resist them and freely choose to do God’s will always. Since temptations are the normal means of attack by the demons they find in Joseph an immovable object. His desire, so completely centered on God’s, proves to be a shield against their attacks on him. When we invoke his protection for our family and us, we are utilizing that same impenetrable shield. They see their attacks neutralized and in the realization of their own futility are stricken with fear.
During his mortal life, Joseph was the Father’s chosen instrument to protect His most precious Son and Mary His mother. Joseph was chosen to do this when God could have assigned a whole Legion of Angels to do the task. Joseph was the savior of the Savior. With God’s grace, Joseph completed his mission in an exemplary manner. If the earth-bound mortal Joseph was able to do that, how much more can he do now that he immortally dwells in Heaven with Jesus and Mary by his side?
In the Old Testament, Pharaoh told the people to, “Go to Joseph” for their needs. Today, as the activities of the demons are more frequently shown on the six o’clock news, we should seek the aid of the New Testament Joseph for our needs and especially for our protection.