We gotta admit, we found it pretty striking that one Hollywood star would tell another Hollywood star to be careful about … the devil! You don’t often hear celebrities discussing such matters.
Spiritual writers are always warning us that the devil’s favorite little trick is to make us think he’s some fictional character with a pitchfork and pointy tail, not an actual person with a host of minions … and one would expect Hollywood to have fallen well into that trap.
So the advice Denzel Washington gave Will Smith came across as a surprise.
Nevertheless, Denzel is in good company. The wisdom of his counsel has been shared countless times by countless saints, and in our own day, the current Pope seems to be literally always talking about the devil.
Francis’ most oft-repeated warning is DON’T TALK TO THAT GUY … he’s an angel, meaning he’s way smarter than us, and if you get into a conversation (like Eve did), you’re guaranteed to lose.
But Francis has also made a point of noting that it’s the devil who starts things like wars. Timely observation, right?
Here’s what he said about that, and as we watch it happening around us, it’s so sad!
When the devil manages to make us go to war and lights the fire of war, the Pope reflected, he gets to sit back and relax. “We are the ones who work to destroy each other,” Francis said, as we ourselves take up the devil’s work.
Here’s some more stuff the Holy Father has said about our enemy.
- We have to be careful because the devil enters “so sweetly, politely and takes possession of our attitudes.”
- The devil likes to start slow: He first places obstacles in our path, rather than quickly destroying us. Then he becomes malicious. He likes to torture before he demolishes.
- The devil has a great recipe for effective temptation: It begins with a “small desire or idea.” Then it “gets stronger,” then “it begins to infect others.” In the end, “we justify ourselves.” Justification is necessary to calm ourselves interiorly.
But even though this all sounds scary – and the devil is not to be taken lightly – we have to remember that ultimately, we have nothing to worry about. Satan is smart, persistent, experienced, observant, resourceful, astute and … defeated. As we celebrate each Easter, this battle has already been won.
And, we have a Mother to keep us safe. That’s another point Pope Francis has made about the devil:
“The Russian mystics of the early centuries of the Church,” Pope Francis noted, “counseled their disciples, the young monks, to take refuge under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God during times of spiritual turmoil.
The devil cannot enter there because she is Mother, and as a Mother she defends.”
See below for an extensive list of things Pope Francis said about Satan in the first five years of his papacy.