“During the last two days Jesus has been telling me after Holy Communion: ‘My daughter, the devil will soon wage a great war against you,’” St. Gemma Galgani wrote to a priest. “These words I hear in my heart continuously. Please pray for me.”
St. Gemma Galgani was a late 19th-century Italian mystic who had incredible spiritual experiences. Though she lived only to age 25, she received mystical visions, endured stigmata, and had vivid battles with the demonic.
Though she was young, she quickly realized that prayer was the best defense against malevolent spiritual forces. But Satan didn’t give up on her very easily. In response to her prayer, Satan gave her violent headaches in order to make sleeping difficult for her. Her fatigue then made praying more difficult – but she persevered.
“How many efforts does not that wretch make to make it impossible for me to pray!” she wrote. “Yesterday evening he tried to kill me, and would have succeeded if Jesus had not come quickly to my aid. I was terrified and kept the image of Jesus in my mind…”
At one point, while she was writing a letter, she says the devil “snatched the pen from her hand and tore up the paper then dragged her from the table, seizing her by the hair with such violence that it came off in his brutal claws.”
She describes another attack in one of her writings:
“The demon came before me as a giant of great height and kept saying to me “For thee there is no more hope of salvation. Thou are in my hands!”. I replied that God is merciful and therefore I fear nothing. Then, giving me a hard blow on the head in a rage he said “accursed be you!” and then he disappeared.
“I then went to my room to rest, and there I found him. He began again to strike me with a knotted rope, and wanted me to listen to him while he suggested wickedness. I said no, and he struck me even harder, knocking my head violently against the ground. At a certain point, it came to my mind to invoke Jesus’ Father ‘Eternal Father, through the most precious blood of Jesus, free me!’
“I then don’t quite know what happened. That contemptible beast dragged me from my bed and threw me, hitting my head against the floor with such force that it pains me still. I became senseless and remained lying there until I came to myself a long time afterwards. Jesus be thanked!”
But through it all, she kept her faith in Jesus.
She even used humor against the devil. She wrote this to a priest: “If you would have seen him, when he fled making faces, you would have burst out laughing! He is so ugly!…. But Jesus told me not to be afraid of him.”
May we all have such faith and courage!