Are you possessed by a demon? Probably not.

Are you being harassed by an evil spirit? According to St. Ignatius, absolutely.

Ignatius came to realize that evil spirits act as voices sowing fear, doubt, pride and jealousy in our hearts. Whenever we listen to them, we are left in desolation.

Ignatius also realized, though, that there is a way to guard against these destructive spirits. We simply need to find the “stronger man” from today’s Gospel to defend us.

Luckily, we need not go far to find this stronger man. It is Christ, and he already lives within each of us. When we tune into Christ’s voice in our hearts, the result is peace, joy and love. Just as light dispels darkness, the consolation of Christ speaking in our hearts utterly dispels desolation.

Let’s pay more attention to the movements of our hearts. If we do so, we are sure to begin hearing the voice of Christ leading us to greater peace, joy and love.

—Stephen Kramer, SJ, is a scholastic of the USA Central and Southern Province, currently in theology studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.