Have you heard about Fr Gabriel Amorth (God rest his holy soul)? He was Chief Vatican Exorcist for many years. Several thousands of exorcisms were credited to him. I read his two volumes on his experiences as an exorcist for the Diocese of Rome when I was still a seminarian. In one of those books, Amorth says that the devil gets more glory in his ordinary activity than in his extraordinary activities.
This, of course, leads to the question, “what are the ordinary and extraordinary activities of the devil?” Simply put, the ordinary activity of the devil is TEMPTATION. So anyone who has ever fallen into temptation has experienced the ordinary activity of the devil. The extraordinary activities of the devil, on the other hand, would include demonic possession (which are rare), demonic oppression, demonic affliction, and demonic infestation.
Here’s the thing! The devil doesn’t really get any glory if he has to take over your will to make you do something evil. Some Saints have been known to have suffered demonic possession, oppression, and affliction. In other words, for the virtuous, it is out of frustration that the devil begins to exercise his extraordinary activities, knowing full well that getting them to fall into sin is like getting a camel through the eye of a needle.
But on the other hand, those who constantly fall into temptation, or even live perpetually in sin, seldom have to worry about demonic possession. Since the devil finds it easy to get them to sin by their own wills, why would he want to possess them? After all, the possessed are not culpable of whatever evil they do while possessed. They do not WILLFULLY do any evil thing, hence no glory goes to the devil at all. But the devil is the devil. He could still decide to possess them for the fun of it.
Now, this is not to say that dabbling with the occult can’t get one possessed. Also, being in infested places, or dedication to unholy altars at birth could lead to extraordinary activities of the devil. In these kinds of situations, culpability would vary.
So before we run about thinking we are much better than ALL those people who are afflicted, oppressed or even possessed by demons, we need to ask ourselves how willing we are to cooperate with grace to frustrate the ordinary activity of the devil. In the end, the demon-possessed might turn out to be more blessed than us.
May God deliver us from every evil, Amen.