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The devil is like a dog in chains, and he’ll bite if you draw close, says Pope Francis

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Says that instead of dialoguing with him by entertaining tempting thoughts or desires, we should run to Our Lady's protection

We shouldn’t approach the devil or talk with him, says Pope Francis, because even though he’s a “loser,” and has been vanquished, he’s dangerous and seductive. Like a rabid chained dog, he’ll bite if you try to caress him.

This was the pope’s reflection today at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the Gospel of today, which affirms, “the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

“We can say that he is dying,” the pope said, and is “a loser” (someone who has been vanquished). Yet, it is not easy to remember this because “the devil is a seducer who knows what to say to us” … and ultimately, “we like to be seduced.”

And he has this capability. This capacity to seduce. That’s why it is so difficult to understand that he has been vanquished, because he presents himself with great power, he promises you so many things, he brings you lovely presents, wrapped up beautifully. ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ … but you don’t know what it contains within. ‘But the wrapping paper is so nice ….’ He seduces us with the packaging without allowing us to see what’s inside. He knows how to present his proposals to our vanity and our curiosity.

The pope noted how it’s said you shouldn’t approach a crocodile who is about to die because with one swing of his tail, he can still kill. In the same way, the devil is “extremely dangerous.” His proposals are nothing but lies, Francis said, but “we fools believe him.”

The devil is, indeed, the “great liar, the father of lies.” Thus we must be attentive, and like Jesus said, watch, pray and fast.

Moreover, the Bishop of Rome insisted, we mustn’t approach him.

If I know that if I spiritually approach this or that thought, if I approach this or that desire, if I go to this place or that other one, I am approaching this furious, chained dog. Please, don’t do it. ‘I have a very deep wound…’ ‘Who did that to you?’ … ‘The dog’ … ‘But wasn’t he chained up?’ … ‘Yes, but I went to caress him …’ ‘You went looking for him???’ … That’s how it is. Never draw close to him just because he’s chained up. Let us leave him there. Chained up.

Finally, the pope said, we must remember not to dialogue with the devil, as Eve did. And instead, find protection in Our Lady.

We must pray, do penance, and not approach him or dialogue with him. And as well, to go to our mother, as children do. When a child is afraid, he goes to his mother. ‘Mommy, mommy, I’m afraid.’ When he’s had a nightmare, he goes to his mother. Go to the Virgin. She protects us. And the Fathers of the Church, above all the Russian mystics, say that in times of spiritual tribulation, we must take refuge under the mantle of the great Mother of God. Go to the Mother. May she help us in this fight against the one who has lost, this chained up dog, so as to conquer him.

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