Rorate Caeli

Don Bosco’s most ferocious enemy

From the writings of Don Giuseppe Tomaselli
H/T Cordialiter Blog

The Devil gets furious with those striving for their own spiritual perfection and so everyday he engages in a fight with them, tempting them towards evil; if he doesn’t manage today, he hopes to do so tomorrow; he knows the weaknesses of everyone and also how to exploit them, by driving people to impurity, hate or the abuse of God’s mercy.   

But if he behaves like this with devout people, imagine how his furor is roused against those who bring souls to God. Don Bosco was a fisher of souls; the Demon, as a consequence, enraged against him, in the foolish hope of hampering his apostolate. The diabolical vexations began with loud, nocturnal noises on the roof of his home; sudden and terrifying shaking at the door and windows occurred; while he was resting, the covers on his bed were pulled back by an invisible hand…

The Demon often took a monstrous, visible form and personally attacked Don Bosco. Such phenomena was repeated with so much insistence that the Saint’s health suffered greatly.

One night, the priest, Angelo Savio, decided courageously to keep vigil in the Saint’s hallway, to validate the strange phenomena; but upon hearing the diabolical rumblings, he was seized with fright and so filled with terror that he fled back to his own room.

The abovementioned vexations happened at specific times, particularly when he had started or accomplished some new apostolic work.   One evening, Don Bosco, while speaking to a group of boys and recounting something of his terrible nights, was interrupted by one of them:
- “Oh, I’m not afraid of the Devil!”
- “Be quiet! Don’t say that!” replied Don Bosco, in a vibrant voice which surprised everyone. “You don’t know what kind of power the Demon has if the Lord gives him freedom to act.”
- “Yes, yes! If I saw him, I’d grab him by the neck and he’d have to deal with me!”  
- “You’d die of fright at the first sight of him…”
- “And how did you manage to drive him away? With the Sign of the Cross?”
- “Yes, but that wasn’t enough; the Sign of the Cross is of benefit only for a minute or two.”
- “Did you throw Holy Water on him then?”
- “Sometimes Holy Water is not enough. In any case, I discovered an effective remedy- which it isn’t necessary to tell you about…. I don’t wish the terrible moments I experienced  on  anyone;  we need to pray to God so that He will prevent our enemy from playing these tricks on us.”      

Despite all the battles with the Demon, the Saint managed to realize God’s plans and triumphed completely over his enemy with the aid of  Our Lady Help of Christians. 

In the last years of his life a fellow asked him: “Don Bosco, when you die everyone will be sorry! He replied: “All except the Devil, who will say: At last! The one who gave me so much trouble is dead!”

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana