Saint Arsenie Boca was a renowned confessor and a spiritual guide. He was extremely bothered and concerned about the many people he confessed who refused to change their life, choosing to continue satisfying their desires. St. Arsenie was fully aware that, in the Day of Judgment, he would be their guarantor for the salvation of their souls. He thus begged and pleaded with God to reveal to him the reason for which people refuse to abandon their sinful ways.
One day, while he was sitting in a chair within his garden staring at the mountain across from him, he observed that a huge dark cloud appeared on the mountaintop. There was great commotion and noise coming from within the cloud. Continuing to attentively stare at it, he suddenly observed that the cloud separated in two and at the very peak of the mountain there was a royal throne surrounded by fire. On the throne was seated the Enemy of mankind, Satan, surrounded by a plethora of demons. St. Arsenie was able to clearly follow what was transpiring. He thus hears the Evil One say:
“Which one of you is skillful and clever enough to come up with some kind of a cunning and wicked thought which we will whisper in the minds of people so that we can attract them and draw them to our side? In this way we can establish a kingdom that is greater than God’s since there is so little time left…”
A demon then appeared who worshiped his leader all the way to the ground and said:
“Excellent leader of the darkness, I consider it proper to whisper into people’s ears that there is no God.”
Satan then said:
“Your wickedness is not the best because we can gain a greater number of souls in a different way. Let somebody else come up with another idea.”
A second one came and said:
“Excellent leader of the darkness, I suggest that we whisper to them that there is a God but there is no such thing as Heaven or Hell and that this life of theirs simply ends at their grave.”
Satan, after extensive contemplation, said:
“This wicked thought is also insufficient and will not enable us to win many souls. People will remember that Christ said, as He ascended into Heaven: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:2-3). The faith of people in these words is unfortunately strong enough to counteract our plans. People will continue to believe that He will reward all according to their life deeds. Let another one of you suggest something else.”
A third one then came up and after he worshiped his leader all the way to the ground, took the floor and said:
“Most excellent leader of the darkness, I propose that it is much better that we praise people for their faith in God, their belief in the existence of Paradise and Hell, their expectation for the Last Judgment. However and at the same time, let us whisper to them: ‘Do not rush into repentance. Let repentance be your deed during the latter part of your life. Death is still far away. For the time being, enjoy your life, satisfy all of your carnal desires because you have plenty of time left.’ Thus, while we conduct our alluring and magic works, they will grow old without realizing it and reach their life’s end before they can repent. Death will arrive suddenly and will find them unprepared and they will be ours forever.”
Satan then moved his head acknowledging his satisfaction. He grunted and squealed with devilish joy and with hasty anxiety told them all: “Quickly, all of you go and do exactly as your colleague indicated.” It is for this reason that people fulfill their Christian duties in a lackluster manner. The cunning demons, throughout their life, whisper to them in a tempting way regarding the joys of this world and people obey. They refuse to change their ways and continue to satisfy their desires and sinful nature, ignoring the advice of the Church regarding true repentance, even in their old age.