(Transated by Google)
We share with you a question addressed to the Dominican Father Angelo . Dear Father Angelo, I am writing to you to clarify the capacity of knowledge granted to the devil. First of all: what did he really know about Jesus when he worked portentous miracles? Was he aware of his divinity? It would seem so when he would have liked to speak in exorcisms, but Jesus prevented him from doing so. But some say that he did not know that he was the Son of God.
In this hypothesis, when would he have known? In the moment of the trial in which Jesus proclaimed himself Son of God, Caiaphas tore his clothes and Jesus was condemned to death? It would seem that from that moment on, the forces of evil were fierce against Jesus, causing him the innumerable pains of the Passion.
It is then said that the devil sees everything, even if he has no possibility of doing whatever he wants. Was he therefore aware of the state of grace of Mary Most Holy, and was therefore aware of the virginal birth of Jesus? In this case, I believe he had more than one suspicion about Jesus, who was then tempted in the desert. So: Was he tempted as a “suspect” man in his eyes, that is, too holy, or as the Son of God? The question also gives me the opportunity to ask you something else about it: the devil has the possibility to read into a soul, or the evil thoughts he suggests are chosen based on the acts, then actions, sinful that the person does, and so everyone offers him something personalized?
Thanks, remember me in prayer.
1. St. Thomas in the “Golden Chain on the Gospel of St. Mark”, commenting on the expression of the devil who says to Jesus “I know who you are, the Holy One of God” (Mk 1:24) reports the following statement by Sant ‘Agostino:
“God has made known to the demons what he wanted; and he wanted it to the extent that it was appropriate.
But he made it known not to the holy Angels, who enjoy participating in his eternal life and the fact that he is the Word of God; but it was made known to them that they were terrified of it because it was about to free the predestined from their tyrannical power.
He thus made known to the demons by not showing that He was eternal Life, but for certain temporal effects of his power, which can be known by the angelic faculties even of evil spirits “( De civitate Dei ).
Therefore they understood it from the effects of Christ’s actions.
They understood it in particular when they saw that the souls who awaited the Redeemer were taken away from the underworld and brought to Heaven.
2. The devil can not read directly into the souls, within their intelligences. This is the exclusive prerogative of God
St. Thomas says that “it is proper and exclusive of God to penetrate into the very essence of the soul ( solus Deus illabitur animae )” ( Sum theological , III, 64, 1).
Even here the devil can conjecture from the actions of man.
It can also conjecture from its sensory faculties, but it can not directly know the thoughts of man because it can not take possession of the soul, dwelling in it.
I salute you, I assure you of a remembrance to the Lord and I bless you.