At a teaching conference for the formation of priests and their teams working in the Church’s ministry of healing, deliverance and exorcism, an experienced exorcist shared a tragic story of how a young woman became fully possessed by demonic spirits. She had become estranged from her family and alienated from friends through a series of losses and broken relationships. Overwhelmed with loneliness and full of despair, one night she sank onto her bathroom floor and cried out from the depths of her desolate heart, “Is there is anyone out there who will be my friend?” Here, a very desperate, isolated girl opened a doorway and sent an invitation into the very real spirit world that surrounds us all. Fallen angels, demons, were quick to seize the opportunity to enter into a “relationship” with this poor soul.
The evil spirits desire relationship with their host person to mock God and torment the soul. Evil spirits try to fill up the empty space inside the heart of the host person and seductively mock true friendship and companionship. More cunning than the human mind because they are pure spirit, the angels of darkness strike at our “Achilles’ heel”—our most vulnerable wound. For example, if we have a wound of rejection (especially by a spouse or parent) the demonic spirit might exacerbate our pain, anger and self-degradation with temptations to retaliate against those who reject us. The evil one may bombard us with temptations such as, “You are not worthy to be loved; everyone will reject you—but I’ll be your friend and I’ll give you power to overcome your enemies.”
God’s creation is about relationship. Even the fallen angels work in “families” so to speak. For example, during an official Rite of Exorcism, in response to the priests inquiry about the name of the spirit, we heard, “My name is depression and I entered with negativity and doubt.” There are fallen angels of depression, negativity and doubt and they tend to group themselves together to be more effective in tempting humanity.
The Catechism explains the office and nature of angels:
329. St. Augustine says: “Angel” is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are ‘spirit,’ from what they do ‘angel.’”
414. Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in the revolt against God.
As the Catechism teaches, demonic temptation, oppression, obsession and possession all aim at the demonic goal of associating a person with the devil’s revolt against God. The fallen angels refused to serve God and his plan of salvation. The perennial revolt is against the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ sent to be Savior of humanity. Therefore, let us deepen our devotion and gratitude for the greatest gift of the Incarnation!
The greatest spiritual armor you can possess is your intimate relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ who is Lord! The deeper your relationship with Jesus Christ becomes, the greater strength you have to resist the devil and his works because it is Christ in you—the indwelt Spirit of the Living God that defends you from evil.
The most important step to being protected from the evil one or to become free from his grip is to solidify our relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ. How? Through sacramental life: more Holy Communions (assuming one is in the state of grace), Confessions and prayer: the Holy Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Liturgy of the Hours, more scripture and spiritual reading, more retreats, spiritual direction, more fellowship at the parish or cenacles of prayer, more service to the poor, greater charity in the home toward spouses, children, parents, siblings. These are the living stones that build a strong spiritual edifice around our hearts.
We must guard the heart for God alone. Who and what fill your heart? Who and what occupy your thoughts? Evil spirits enter and exit through our five human senses and prudence requires that we guard these always. The structure of the five sense organs of the human body is: vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch. What are you looking at, hearing, tasting or touching? Invite God into each sense area asking Him to continually sanctify your senses.
God, who is infinitely magnanimous, desires us to have full communion with The Three in One and as many healthy relationships and holy friendships as possible. Holy relationships not only protect us from serious onslaught of demonic spirits, they also contribute to the abundant life that Jesus desires for us to enjoy.
In this present time, many families are broken and relationships are estranged. Take solace, because we can intercede for the family and work toward reconciliation that comes through mutual forgiveness and the desire to extend charity again. Patience and perseverance is required to heal family relationships.
We all have recourse to the rich and vast family of God through Holy Mother Church. This is my favorite expression about the Church—she is my Holy Mother. The Church, like a good mother, is there for me with sacramental fountains of grace, priests who are “other Christ’s” and people who are truly my brothers and sisters in Christ. All men sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), but together we are on a journey of faith, being perfected in grace through God’s daily medicine of divine mercy. God is faithful and grace is always super- sufficient!
The Lord and His Church encourage us to develop relationships with our patron saints and guardian angels. If only the young lady who invited “anyone out there” into relationship with her had called on her patron saint or guardian angel for help, she may have been spared the intense suffering of demonic possession. Thanks be to God, through the Church ministry of exorcism the girl was liberated.
Devotion to our personal guardian angel and patron saint is strongly urged in healing and deliverance ministry as a means of real and abiding protection. I’d like to relay a personal story of how I became convinced of the importance of the Church’s tradition regarding patron saints. When I arrived at the hospital to meet the newest member of our family at the birth of my nephew, nothing could have surprised me more. A first glimpse of the baby revealed that he was born with a severe cleft palate. His mouth, gums, teeth, nose and palate did not form together so there was a wide-open gap in his face. As we were standing together welcoming the baby and loving him with tender sympathy, the nurse entered the room and asked the parents what they wanted to name him. My brother responded with a name other than a saint’s name. The Holy Spirit urged me to interject and to make a case for a saint’s name—in particular—Saint Luke, evangelist and physician. I urged his parents to name him after Saint Luke who would intercede powerfully for the child as he underwent many surgeries from birth to eighteen to correct the cleft palate. They agreed and things have gone well for him through several surgeries.
A real relationship with saints and angels is the best spiritual armor we can have as we fight the good fight. Let us solidify our Godly relationships and let go of all ungodly ones. Ask the Lord to choose your friends and start with His friends.
Saints and Angels of God, pray for us. Holy Mother Church, protect us. Amen.