A Jew was traveling on foot to Rome, and being suddenly overtaken at nightfall by a great storm took refuge in the ruins of a pagan temple. Wearied by his day’s journey, he soon fell fast asleep.
At dead of night he was suddenly awakened by horrible noises and a suffocating odor. His horrified glance fell on a number of devils, whose hideous forms filled him with terror. Remembering that the Christians whom he knew used the holy Sign in all dangers, he too, as best he could, made the Sign of the Cross, which at once drove the devils in headlong flight from the temple. On reaching Rome he recounted this fact, and the Holy Father ordered a rigorous examination of his statements to be made. These were shown to be perfectly true.
~Source:”How To Be Happy,How To Be Holy”
In the reign of the Emperor Phocas, a Persian embassy arrived at the Imperial Court in Con-stantinople. These ambassadors and their suite were all Mohammedans.
The Emperor and the members of the palace remarked that these Mohammedan princes and their followers had the Sign of the Cross marked on their foreheads. Surprised at this love and respect for the Sign of the Cross on the part of fanatical Moslems, they inquired the reason. The Moslems explained that some years previously a terrible epidemic had raged in Persia. The Moslems noted that the Christians signed themselves with the Sign of the Cross and were thus delivered from the plague. Convinced of the power of the Cross, they themselves did likewise and were also delivered from the awful scourge. Since then profound respect was shown for this holy Sign, which was considered as a protection and safeguard from sickness and pestilence.
Many devout Catholics, when troubled with any pain or sickness, make the Sign of the Cross with their thumb on the part afflicted saying, “By the holy Sign of the Cross deliver us, O Lord, from all evils and sickness.” This holy practice is of the greatest efficacy and should be used by all the faithful.
Maria was born in Agreda (Spain) in 1602. Her parents, of noble origins, had 4 children.In 1618, when Maria was only 16 years of age, the entire family decided to embrace the religious life.The father and 2 sons entered the Franciscan Order; the mother and 2 daughters entered the Order of the Immaculate Conception which was under the jurisdiction of the Friars Minor (Franciscans).
From the beginning of her religious life, Maria was blessed with many extraordinary graces. In 1627, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her and recounted her life and charged her with putting it in writing. The book was entitled “The Mystical City of God”. The first printing was burned by her confessor who did not believe her divine revelations. The nun was at the point of giving up when in 1655, the Lord appeared in the company of two Seraphim and, promising her His special protection, urged her to begin the work again. As soon as Maria sat down at the desk to begin again, the devil appeared to pester and annoy her by spilling the ink on the desk. Patiently, the nun put everything in order and began to write, confident in the divine help. As soon as she began again, the devil appeared again to distract her. But the Seraphim immediately intervened and cast him off. Sister Maria was thus able to complete her work.
One of the interesting chapters in “The Mystical City of God” has the Madonna instructing her about the powers of hell: “My daughter, be careful and very cautious – because you must be aware of the sinister forces that surround so many people, unaware of their eternal salvation and not knowing the danger they find themselves by the constant harassment that the demons wage for their destruction. Men and women sleep, rest and carry on without any awareness of these powerful and restless enemies. This frightening ignorance is a result of two conditions. The first is that people are so concerned with earthly affairs that are physical and sensuous that they concern themselves only with dangers to their physical well-being. They think that anything concerning the spirit or interior life will not harm them. The other reality is that the powers of darkness are invisible and defy the physical senses. Since the senses do not touch, see or hear them, they forget to fear them. It is precisely because the enemy is so invisible that they should be more attentive and aware. The enemy is thus so much more cunning and capable of such treachery. This danger is real and more subtle; the harm that is inflicted is more deadly than can possibly be imagined.Be aware, then, that no intellect, no words, human or angelic, can express the rage and the furious anger that Lucifer and his demons harbor against humans simply because they are made in the image of God and thus capable of eternally enjoying His presence. A few years after her death in 1665, Maria was declared Venerable in 1679.