Once I started outlining spiritual suffering in my head, it became very clear that more needs to be said before I tackle that aspect of suffering. To begin, in addition to physical suffering there is a vast catalogue of emotional, psychological, and situational suffering, some of which contains physical ingredients - like depression with a chemical imbalance, anxiety disorder which can have any number of physical causes. Lies can also cause terrible suffering - something politicians should bear in mind these days. Unforgiveness is another cause of suffering, and has spiritual consequences as well as physical and emotional.
It is very tempting in some circles to blame all suffering on demons - setting up a power for them that rivals the power of God. A dualism that the Church condemned centuries ago. When people feel powerless in the face of a contradition - like cancer - it is comforting to blame it on a family demon instead of its actual known causes. New Age is so appealing because it offers a certain power over one's life. Of course lies are not seen as lies if shrouded in something appealing to our sense of personal control - our need to be in control of everything that can threaten us. This gives rise to the hiccup demon, the nosebleed demon, the appliance demon (where everything mechanical in the house seems to be breaking down at the same time). Then there is the gravity demon, who is causing you to drop things all of the time. These infamous demonic entites are protestant (and sometimes charismatic) thinking and are not even remotely Catholic. Discernment of demons in the case of a soul being oppressed or possessed is something we need to leave to those people the Church chooses and qualifies. There is not a demon in your flower bed causing the roses to form ugly distorted buds. If you watch bad stuff on tv or on the internet, there is not a demon under your pillow causng you to have disturbing dreams. Blame yourself for them! Do demons enter stuff into our imagination? Yes, they most certainly do, but you are the one who opened the windows and doors of your soul to let them in. In such cases deliverance ministries can be helpful, but if you go right home and invite them in again, who is to blame ? Humankind does the evil on our planet. Where there are no people, no evil is done. The devil is limited by God, and has to use our human imagination to produce the evil actions he wants to see happen. Can the demon inspire someone to commit a murder? Absolutely. But the dynamics have to somehow reach past the person's own objections to committing such an act. Mental illness, a huge lie, blind rage, a perceived threat to one's own life, and a vast array of other factors the demon can enlist in his cause - he will use anything. Passions can dominate someone so much that a lie can move them to murder, blind rage taking over. "A crime of passion" it is called in the courts. Greed, another passion is one of the demon's favorite windows. So, while demons take advantage of our weakness, we are the ones who have allowed them entrance. Starving the passions closes the windows little by little....more tomorrow ☺