The Fallen Angel

‘The devil,’ says St. John Chrysostom of the fallen angel, ‘is shameless and insolent. He attacks from below. Yet even so he often wins, but that is only because we do not try to raise ourselves to where he is powerless to wound us. For he cannot raise himself high, but creeps over the earth; and that is why the serpent is his type or image. And if God set him crawling at the beginning of things, he is all the more so now.

But if you do not know what it means to attack from below, I will try to explain it to vou. It means to steal upon you and master you by using low things, by means of pleasures, riches and all that is earthly.

So if the devil sees someone soaring to heaven, first he is not in a position to attack him; and second, if he does risk attacking, he soon falls, because he has not a leg to stand Do not be afraid of him; he has no wings. He only crawls over the earth and creeps among earthly things. So have nothing in common with earth; then there will be no need even of labour.

The devil cannot fight openly, but just as a snake hides in thorns, so he mostly lurks in the delusions of wealth. If you cut out the thorns, he will soon be scared and take to flight. If you can exorcize him with the divine charms, you will easily strike him. And we do have, we surely have spiritual charms: the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the cross.’

Bishop Ignatius (Brianchaninov), The Arena, p.188

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