By Michael H. Brown
UNSUSPECTED ‘TOEHOLDS’ OF DEVIL INCLUDE COMPULSIONS TOWARD EITHER DISORDER OR OBSESSIVE CLEANLINESS
When you see those shows on “hoarding,” and you get a strange feeling, maybe it’s because there’s a spirit attached. It is very strange, even eerie. Hoarding in this sense means those who are addicted to keeping things — filling their homes with junk and even garbage. They can’t throw anything away, including worthless, unsanitary items.
While we don’t usually think of clutter as a “toehold” for the devil, it can be just that, argues author John LaBriola in Onward Catholic Solider. “God is a God of order, not of clutter or chaos,” he says. “The spirit of disorder or chaos is a subtle, yet reliable toehold.
“If your bedroom is buried underneath a pile of dirty clothes, if your family room is strewn with empty pizza boxes and old newspapers, if your desk is submerged under piles of paper, then Satan has an opening.
“Clutter and chaos do not come from God. Clutter and chaos are a derivative of sin and therefore, where there is chaos there you will find a potential home for evil spirits.
“Whether it is money, shoes, purses, tools, religious articles, golf clubs, music, books, etcetera, excess accumulation of goods lends itself to spirits of greed, gluttony, and self-reliance,” says the author (whose book we highly recommend). “”If you seem absolutely compelled to have the latest model or version of an item, then that is a potential entry point for evil spirits. If you financially strain yourself to keep up appearances, then that is a potential entry point.
“If you hoard money, seeking earthly security above eternal security, then that is a potential entry point. If you have a wardrobe that is sufficient to clothe a small army, then that is a potential entry point. The amassing of earthly honors and rewards can also become a point of entry.”
The solution? A life of discipline and simplicity. It’s how saints conducted themselves.
However: a compulsion toward cleanliness or order can also be an entry point for Satan, states LaBriola. Anything obsessive is suspect. The key word: balance. “To demand sterility and spotlessness, to be obsessed with cleanliness, can be an opening,” he claims. “Don’t let Satan use good virtues like cleanliness or orderliness to draw you away from God. Proper order usually includes cleanliness, but proper order always puts God first. The spirits of chaos, disorder, perfectionism, compulsion, sloth, anxiety, and so forth operate here.”
Is it a virtue to keep something and not waste? Yes. As long as the item is useful. Is it a virtue to be clean? Absolutely. As the saying goes, cleanliness is next to Godliness.
But remember that the devil is a spirit of extremes, compulsions, and obsessions (hear the hiss?).