Rev Fr. Louis Gambaro was one of my spiritual directors when I was a young man. This saintly priest passed on in 1997. Suffering from debility, he was bedridden most of the time shortly before he passed on. When his friends came to visit him at the hospital where he spent his final days, he always reminded them to tolerate.
Tolerance is a virtue. Without patience and love, it is hard to be tolerant of other people’s interests and preferences, especially when these interests and preferences do not appeal to us. In our daily life, there are ample chances when we can practice the virtue of tolerance. Some of these chances come from our coworkers, friends, or from the members of our very own family. But when the Word of God has been distorted or misrepresented, should we tolerate the errors and fallacy? Not according to the Bible which is the ultimate authority on right and wrong, and not according to St. Peter who said, “Venerate the Lord, that is, Christ, in your hearts. Should anyone ask you the reason for this hope of yours, be ever ready to reply.” ( 1 Peter 3:15 )
A few months ago I had an opportunity to read a book on demonology. It was written by Fr. Gabriele Amorth who is the world’s best known exorcist. The book that I read is called An Exorcist Tells His Story. In addition to that, I also read his interview which was published in 2000.
I have learned from Fr. Amorth that the two major tactics the devil likes to use are to make people think he does not exist; and with his great intelligence, he suggests subtle different interpretations of the Scriptures, and of theology, that distort the revealed truth. The devil has succeeded in concealing his blasphemy under the guise of broad-mindedness or progressiveness.
Although we do not see him, we can see his signs of influence everywhere - the great increase of every form of lustful immorality, of violence, of terrorism, of abortion, of same-gender marriage, etc. He also likes to distort the truth with a mixture of truth and lies to ensnare us.
Since the devil knows he is powerless against those who are humble and obedient, he seeks to encourage a spirit of independence, and he instills the idea that we do not need to pray because we think we can manage our life without praying, or we do not need to pray that much into our mind. He also makes us think we do not need to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as we do not have grave sins.
Should we have a pessimistic view of life knowing that there is no match between our human weakness and the demonic intelligence? Fortunately, St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that while there are countless devils seeking to ensnare us, there are more angels helping us in our salvation.
In God’s creation, everything and everyone can be used by God Himself to achieve a purpose. Even the devils with their deceitfulness can be used by God as instruments to test man.
No test has been sent you that does not come to all men. Besides, God keeps his promise. He will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it. ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 )
What a comfort to learn that St. Paul, through his letter to the Corinthians, tells us that ‘……..along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it.’
For me personally, ‘the way out of it so that I may be able to endure it’ is Mary, Mother of God. In the divine plan, Mary, Mother of Jesus, is destined - through the power of her Divine Son - to crush the head of the serpent. She can protect us from the wiles and snares of the enemy. Although She has the ability to protect us, we need to make our best possible effort to avoid occasions of sin, and rely faithfully on prayer and the sacraments to strengthen our souls.
I rely on the Rosary to help me fight against all kinds of demonic temptation. I have told one of my good friends that I find much comfort when I pray the Rosary. I have also told her that the Rosary has transformed me. Another good friend knows that one of my hobbies is to pray the Rosary. I have told her that the Rosary is my weapon. I will never hesitate to recommend the Rosary to anyone.
I have been a member of the Rosary Confraternity for years. It is a worldwide spiritual association of the Catholic Church. Members come from different parts of the world and we strive to pray the entire Rosary (20 decades) during the course of each week although many members pray many more than twenty decades each week. Whenever a member prays the Rosary, along with his/her own intentions, he/she includes the intentions and needs of all members.
St. John Vianney said, “If anyone has the happiness of being in the Rosary Confraternity, he has in all corners of the world brothers and sisters who pray for him.”
To join the Rosary Confraternity, there is no need to pay any fees, nor is there any need to attend any meetings. We only need to pray the Rosary. There are benefits and obligations for all members. My chief obligation is to pray the Rosary as many as I can. The minimum requirement is one entire Rosary within a week. The biggest benefits are many members all over the world pray for my intentions as I also pray for their intentions; and that I have a plenary indulgence on every major Marian feast day.
For those who are interested, you may enroll in the Rosary Confraternity online. The following is the link of their website: