What does the devil hate? Supernatural normalcy. When considering conflict with Satan, some people think it is all about crucifixes and holy water and exorcisms and putting on the spiritual armor of God and wading into battle like mortal versions of St Michael the Archangel.
Well, that’s all well and good if you’re appointed as the Diocesan exorcist, but that’s not for us. We best trample down the head of Satan through supernatural normalcy. And to tell you the truth, every exorcist I’ve ever met seems like a very ordinary guy. They stalk around in their cassocks clutching crucifixes and carrying vampire killing kits.
They’re supernaturally normal.
What do I mean by ‘supernatural normalcy’? First you have to start by understanding Satan and all his works. Satan has nothing original in his toolkit. He can’t create sin because sin is the absence of grace or the distortion of something good. God made everything and everything he made is good. Evil is therefore nothing positive in itself, but the distortion and destruction of all that is good. It follows therefore that Satan loves everything that is perverted, twisted, destroyed and diseased. He can’t do anything good or create anything good. All he can do is twist or attempt to destroy that which is good.
What does Satan hate therefore? He hates all that is natural and free and good and wholesome and normal and fine and happy and whole. He hates good Catholic families. He hates ordinary Catholics who work hard, pray hard, laugh hard and who love God, love life, love one another and live life to the full.
This ordinary, grace-filled natural life of faith is what he hates with a passion. I call it ‘supernatural normalcy’ because these are the saints that fill our pews. These are the people of God. These are the ones who live out their faith best they can in the ordinary ups and downs of life. They try hard. They make mistakes, they go to confession with open hearts. They try to love God and others. They have a sense of humor that laughs at life’s foibles and failures, but never with cruelty or unkindness. They laugh at the vanity and pride of the world and they laugh at themselves.
They are the blessed ones and the ones who give the blessing. They are truly the children of God. They do not seem to be extraordinary and stupendous. They do not seem to be saints even–but that is because they are humble and hidden. They naturally follow the ‘Little Way’ of St Therese.
We say they are “down to earth” or we say they are the “salt of the earth”. Yep. They are the real ones–not usually the celebrities of the faith, the great speakers, writers, politicians and prelates.
This way of ‘supernatural normalcy’ is the way of the Blessed Virgin. She doesn’t jump out from the pages of the New Testament as some sort of Superwoman or Heroic Saint. That’s because she is ordinary. She if ‘full of grace’ and therefore she seems to be totally and utterly natural and real. She is all that she was created to be and therefore she does not seem to be extraordinary. She is as natural and beautiful as a morning in May. She is as natural and virginal as a virgin forest.
It therefore takes a discerning spirit and a finely tuned spiritual sense to find such souls. They are difficult to find not only because they are humble and hidden, but because they are ‘normal’. If you told them they were holy and that you wanted to sit at their feet they would laugh and tell you they are not holy and that you have made a mistake. They don’t seem extraordinary, and yet for those who have eyes to see they are very extraordinary indeed.
I’ve met this kind of saint many times, and I’ve learned to spot them–hidden in the world. There’s a certain grace about them–a certain lightness of being. They are naturally interested in other people, and don’t give two hoots about themselves. They don’t stick out in pride, anger, wonderfulness or with some amazing talent.
They have become real. They have become who they were created to be.
This is the way of ‘supernatural normalcy’, and if you really want to trample Satan’s head–pray for the grace to be transformed in this way.