The purpose of the SCRC Catholic Charismatic Conference was to build up faith in the reality of Eucharistic inner healing and Eucharistic deliverance from evil spirits. We all believe in this, right? I mean we do believe that the Eucharist can heal and deliver from evil. But I will tell you that it is one thing to believe it and quite another to see it happen.
As a volunteer for the SCRC Youth Track, I was assigned a group of teenagers to help facilitate their experience on the conference weekend. I was surprised when I met my group consisting of gang members complete with tattoos. Most of the young people were brought to the conference by their parents or youth ministers. They were apathetic and rebellious during the teachings and testimonies which were excellent. Throughout the weekend they continued to be stubborn. Try as I did to facilitate conversations and share the beauty of the faith, they were resistant and seemingly unbelieving.
At the end of the day, we were asked to be silent and to kneel because a Priest was bringing the Blessed Sacrament into the room to bless the youth. The lights were dimmed, the music was beautiful, and everyone knelt except my group who refused to kneel and remained standing in rebellion.
When the Blessed Sacrament entered the room I was amazed at what happened. Instantly they all fell to their knees and began to weep! The power of the Blessed Sacrament brought them to their knees and broke open their hearts. All the walls came down and they wept like babies! The pain locked within them came gushing forth. These teens had many challenges in their respective families and were trying to cope with difficult things: divorced parents, drugs, gangs, peer pressure, lust. They were carrying a lot of anger, even rage. Yet they were afraid.
In Jesus’ Eucharistic Presence they experienced inner healing. Through the Blessed Sacrament they were delivered from many demonic influences that held them in bondage. Only an experience of God’s love could heal them. I knelt in Eucharistic amazement, humbled and grateful. It was a scene I will never forget.
There is power before the Blessed Sacrament. Human defense mechanisms fall down. We are transparent in His Gaze. He sees us as we are and loves us despite of our resistance. The young people in my group experienced the conversion of heart. Their goodness poured forth in genuine gratitude. They presented me with a poster signed by each one thanking me and praising God. The power of Eucharistic love compelled them to a posture of repentance and the Holy Spirit filled them with new life.
Many priests and youth ministers have witnessed young people at conferences like Steubenville West where 5000 youth gather together. Such conferences present powerful testimonies and inspiring music but the most amazing thing happens when the Blessed Sacrament is brought into the arena: inner healing occurs and demonic influences are expelled! The Eucharistic love of Jesus reaches into the human heart to heal the wounds. In the presence of the Blessed Sacrament the truth of divine love cuts through falsehood and darkness to free us. Jesus’ deliverance ministry, which is part of His healing ministry, continues in and through the infinite graces of the Blessed Sacrament.
Saint John Bosco wrote, “Do you want the Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him rarely. Do you want the devil to attack you? Visit Jesus rarely in the Blessed Sacrament. Do you want him to flee from you? Visit Jesus often. Do you want to conquer the devil? Take refuge at the feet of Jesus. Do you want to be conquered by the devil? Forget about visiting Jesus. My dear ones, the visit to the Blessed Sacrament is an extremely necessary way to conquer the devil. Therefore, go often to visit Jesus and the devil will not come out victorious against you.”
On October 27, 2006, the National Catholic Register published an article by Fr. Andrew McNair, LC, entitled, “The Reality of the Devil.” Father Mc Nair wrote in part:
The new millennium marks for many teens and young adults a renewed interest in spirituality. What type of spirituality? Christian? No. Islamic? No. How about an Eastern spirituality like Taoism? Wrong again. Try Satanism. That’s right. The occult movement of Satanism ranks number one among teens and young adults as their preferred spirituality. We could dismiss the ascendancy of Satanism in the United States as a fad of the young; something they will grow out of with time. In others words, it’s nothing to worry about.
In my judgment, that’s the wrong approach to the spiritual and cultural phenomenon of Satanism. People need to understand that Satanic spirituality leaves deep spiritual and psychological scars on its victims. Christians should know how to recognize and combat satanic spirituality. Where do we begin?
Let’s begin by reaffirming a basic truth: Satan exists. His demonic minions exist. Scripture and Tradition depict Satan as the supreme evil leader of the fallen angels who seek to disrupt God’s plan of salvation for humanity.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church points out: “Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called ‘Satan’ or the ‘devil.’” The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing” (No. 391).
The best defense against the lure of satanic influence is an intense life of grace. In the words of St. Paul, the Church invites us to “Put on the full armor of God so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics. This will permit us to utter effectively the powerful words of Christ in the hour of temptation, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”
Spiritual warfare is part of the Church’s pillar of prayer. Jesus is our armor! The sacramental life of the Church is our protection. Our families are constantly assailed by the spirit of the world and the influence of evil spirits. It is consoling to know that the Catholic Church has an arsenal of protection and the Priestly authority of Jesus Christ to set the captives free.
[Excerpted from Beckman's Rekindle Eucharistic Amazement].