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Dear Father Angelo,

I must tell you that I very much appreciate your explanations (and I praise God for them!) because in their simplicity they come to me as immediate light on issues that up to that moment were intricate for me… so the help I receive from them is big, very big…

The question is this: Is it wrong or foolhardy or heretic to say that every time we voluntarily accept temptation and indulge in it, the spirit that aroused it ENTERS us and that with perfect contrition (then followed by the sacrament of Confession) is this spirit THROWN OUT?

I read in St. Paul, in the letter to the Ephesians, 2,2 ” …that Spirit that now operates INTO rebel men. ” and in Mc 7,21 “In fact, from within, that is FROM the hearts of men, evil intentions come out: impurity, theft, murder… all these bad things come out FROM WITHIN and make man impure.” And St. Caesar of Arles, bishop, says in his Discourse 229,1-3:” (…) Before Baptism we all were, dear friends, temple for the devil (…). Christ with His coming CAST the devil OUT OF our hearts to prepare a temple within us, we try to do, with his help, what is in our power, so that this temple DOES NOT SUFFER ANY  DAMAGE FOR OUR EVIL DEEDS.”

What I wanted to emphasize is that the image of the man with the little angel on his right who whispers good and the little devil who whispers evil so that the man then moves on to accomplish either one or the other, should then be continued with the image of the little devil entering the heart of man, where man welcomes it… it seems to me… Am I wrong???

I thank you very much and I want to tell you with joy that I often use some of your work for my reflections during meetings…

Every honour and glory to Jesus!!!


Dear friend,

1. St. Thomas claims that “the devil is the enemy of salvation that man acquires through baptism and has a certain power over man due to the fact that he is under original sin, or even under current sin” (Theological Sum, III, 71,2).

We know that in some cases the devil acts by obsessing, harassing and even possessing some people.

2. However, the Holy Spirit and the devil do not act and enter a person in the same way because the Holy Spirit is God and He is man’s creator, while the devil is a creature.

In the Summa against the Gentiles, St. Thomas writes: “The Scripture shows us in many and clear ways that the Holy Spirit is not a creature, but it is the real God.

For this we do not admit that we must understand in the same way the presence and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the minds (souls) of the Saints and that of the devil in some men.

In fact we read of Judas that, “taking the piece of bread, Satan entered into him” (Gv 13,27) and St. Peter said to Ananias according to some codes: “Ananias, why did Satan fill your heart?” (At 5,3).

In fact, since we know that the devil is a creature, he cannot fill anyone with the participation of himself or with his substance, but it is said that he fills some through the effect of his malice. Therefore St. Paul says to a man: “Man full of all fraud and all malice, son of the devil…” (At 13,10).

Instead the Holy Spirit, being God, occupies the mind (soul) with Its substance and makes good with the communication of Itself. In fact He is His own goodness being God, while this does not occur with any other creature” (IV,18, in fine).

3. In the same way commenting on the passage from the Gospel of St. John where we read “after that morsel Satan entered into him” (Gv 13,27), St. Thomas asks himself: “How can Satan enter a man?”.

And he answers: “That Satan enters a man can be understood in two ways.

Since it can enter the body of a man, as is evident in those who are physically oppressed by the devil; and then the devil enters man with his own being.

Or it could be understood that it enters his soul, in the sense that the devil inserts himself into the human mind with his own being. And in this sense, apart from God, nothing can enter man.

In fact, the rational soul does not have the dimensions of quantity, so that it can contain any creature within his extension. In it, on the other hand, it can only find that reality which gives it being, and which is there for its own virtue.

But where the virtue of God is found, there is also the essence of God: because in God the essence is identified with virtue, or power. Therefore it is clear that God is in the soul basically.

However, it is said that the devil introduces himself into the mind of man by effect and by affection of wickedness, that is, as a man seduced by him lets himself be guided by him to do evil things” (Commentary on the Gospel of John 13,27).

4. In the Theological summa, St. Thomas says categorically that “God only enters the soul” (“solus Deus illabitur animae”, Theological sum, III, 64, 1).

5. Before St. Thomas Didymus the blind man (of the third century) said: “It would be impiety to put the Holy Spirit on the same level of creatures. One created being does not dwell in another: the arts and sciences, virtues and vices, inhabit us in a certain way, but as accidental qualities and not as substances… Now it is the own substance of the Holy Spirit that dwells in the righteous and sanctifies them, and it belongs only to the three Persons of the Trinity to be able, with their substance, to penetrate into souls” (De Spiritu Sancto, 25).

And, anticipating the objection that it could have been said that Satan also entered the heart of Judas (Gv 13,27), he replies that Satan entered it not with his substance, but with his operation, that is, with his perfidious suggestions and deceptions full of malice (Ib., 61).

6. Therefore St. Paul’s expressions according to which the Spirit operates into rebel men and even those of Cesario of Arles must be intended in the sense explained by Didymus the blind man, and that is the devil acts with his wicked suggestions and with his scams full of malice reaching to act also in the internal senses of man and indirectly also in his thoughts, but not directly in his intelligence and in his soul.

Much less with his direct presence in the soul.

I wish you well for your meetings, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo

Translated by Rossella Silvestri