Pope Francis: ‘The Devil Knows How to Dress up as an Angel’

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, Mexico, Tuesday, F
AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

ROME — Pope Francis urged vigilance against the snares of the devil Wednesday, especially when he comes dressed as an angel.

Vigilance and watchfulness are necessary, the pontiff told pilgrims gathered in the Vatican for his weekly General Audience, because there is a risk “that the ‘spoilsport,’ that is, the Evil One, can ruin everything, making us go back to the beginning, indeed, in an even worse condition.”

It is not enough to discern well or even to begin well, the pope insisted, because perseverance on the right path requires attentiveness.

“Indeed, in his preaching Jesus insists a great deal on the fact that the good disciple is vigilant, does not slumber, does not let himself become too self-assured when things go well, but remains alert and ready to do his duty,” the pope asserted.

“If vigilance is lacking, there is a very high risk that all will be lost,” he said, because the evil spirit “awaits precisely the moment in which we are too sure of ourselves, and this is the danger.”

“This is the moment he is waiting for, when everything is going well, when things are going ‘swimmingly’ and we ‘have the wind in our sails,’” he said.

Reflecting on a biblical parable, Francis said that Christians must safeguard their hearts or the devil may return, bringing worse demons with him.

The evil spirit does not return alone, but with “seven other spirits more evil than himself,” he said. “A company of evil-doers, a gang of delinquents.”

“When we trust too much in ourselves and not in God’s grace, then the Evil One finds the door open. So, he organizes the expedition and takes possession of that house,” he added.

The master fails to notice “because these are polite demons: they come in without you noticing, they knock on the door, they are polite,” he proposed.

“Beware of these little devils, these demons… the devil is polite, when he pretends to be a great gentleman, isn’t he?” he asked. “Safeguard the house from this deception, that of polite demons.”

It is relatively easy to recognize the devil when he comes with disorders and temptations, the pope proposed, but it is much harder when he comes “disguised as an angel.”

“The devil knows how to dress up as an angel, he enters with courteous words, and he convinces you, and in the end, it is worse than at the beginning,” he said.


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