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“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” – Ephesians 6:12
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8
1. Saint Anthony of the Desert, 251-356 AD
One day Anthony made a rather odd decision: he decided to spend the night alone in a tomb. According to the story, many demons came and assaulted him physically. Causing him many injuries until he fell to the floor and their claws pinned him to the ground. A friend found him the next day, carried him away for treatment. However, he returned to the tomb again upon recovery and said:
“Here is Anthony. I do not flee your beatings nor pain, nor torture; nothing can separate me from the love of God.”
St. Athanasius recorded:
“The demons made such a racket that the whole place was shaken, knocking over the four walls of the tomb; they came in droves, taking the form of all kinds of monstrous beasts and hideous reptiles. And the whole place was filled with lions, bears, leopards, bulls, wolves, asps, scorpions. The lions roared, ready to attack; bulls seemed to threaten him with their horns; snakes advanced, crawling on the ground, seeking a place of attack, and wolves prowled around him.
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They all were making a terrible noise. Groaning in pain, St. Anthony faced the demons, laughing: ‘If you had any power, only one of you would be enough to kill me; but the Lord has taken away your strength, so you want to frighten me by your number. The proof of your powerlessness is that you are reduced to taking the form of senseless animals. If you have any power against me, come on, attack me! But if you cannot do anything, why torment yourselves unnecessarily? My faith in God is my defense against you.’
“But all of a sudden a bright light illuminated the tomb; at that moment, the demons vanished. The pains ceased. When he realized that God was coming to his aid, he asked: ‘Where were you, Lord? Why did you not stop this suffering earlier?’ God answered him, ‘Anthony, I was present at your side. But I waited, observing your fight. And since you have resisted so bravely, I will now always be at your side, and I will make your name famous throughout the world.’ Having heard the words of the Lord, the monk stood up and prayed. He then received such strength that he felt in his body an even greater vigor than before.”
2. St Gemma Maria Galgani, 1878 -1903:
3. Saint Padre Pio,1887-1968
The devil would appear to him as an ugly black cat, or in the shape of a truly repugnant animal. The obvious intent was to fill him with terror. Other times demons came as young girls, nude and provocative, performing obscene dances, to test the young priest’s chastity. But Padre Pio sensed his greatest danger when the devil tried to deceive him by taking on the form of one of his superiors (his provincial superior or his spiritual director) or in a sacred form (the Lord, the Virgin, or St. Francis).