Catholics traditionally consider the month of May as a time of particularly deep Marian devotion. Contemplation on the exalted life, mission, role and dignity of the Virgin Mary is rich and efficacious for growth in faith, hope, and love. Scripture, Tradition, and the saints attest to the role of Mary as God’s chosen Woman in the defeat of evil spirits.
The testimonies of experienced exorcist priests have proven valuable to the broader church. We believe and testify that Jesus Christ is victorious over any and all diabolical spirits. Also, it’s important to believe and testify that the Holy Trinity chose the Virgin Mary to be the most formidable vessel of victory against the diabolical. In our real, and constant battles, Mary defends us from the wiles of the devil. Affirming this, exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth quoted St. Bernard, “We venerate Mary with all the impetus of our hearts, of our affections, of our desires. That is how He wants it, He who established that we receive everything by means of Mary”. This is the experience that all exorcists learn first-hand every time. (G. Amorth, Nuovi racconti di un esorcista, Roma, 1992, pp 220-221.)
Regarding these testimonies of exorcist priests, some I gathered from the Association of International Exorcists course that I attended in Rome in 2017, others are from the written testimonies of exorcists including the late Fr. Candido Amantini (1914-1992), who’s cause for beatification has begun, the late Fr. Gabriele Amorth (1925-2016), and Fr. Francesco Bamonte, a current exorcist of Rome who lectured at the AIE 2017 Rome course on liberation from evil.
According to exorcists, here are some of the testaments that demons were forced to confess about the Virgin Mary during various major rites of exorcism:
- “Mary is the terror of Hell. She sovereignly loves mortal beings. Her love for mortals in inconceivable. She snatches away from us (demons) more souls than all the angels and of all the saints put together.”
- “I compare Mary to a formidable army. He who loves Mary is a friend of God. God is pleased with Mary. He gives evidence of that by never refusing one grace of all those that she asks of Him. When a person prays to Mary, he does not do so with enough respect. One does not recognize that honoring Mary honors God Who made her as she is.”
- “At other times, in a disdainful tone, a demon manifested again his refusal to accept that the Virgin Mary was put over him through these expressions, ‘She is only flesh. I am pure spirit! No, she is not! She, higher than me? No! I am spirit!’”
- “On another occasion, responding with words already used in part before, a demon affirmed, ‘I rejected that she would be next to Him. I could not bear that a human creature would be above me because I was the most beautiful angel, beautiful, beautiful, the greatest. I was Lucifer, the angel par excellence.’”
- “The Woman! For love of His children, she was created before all times in the thought of God. And as a pure spirit, I cannot bear this. That putrid flesh! She is feared by us because she holds you in her arms with her humility, obedience, and merciful love. The purity of her body: it was not ever touched, not even by a thought. We did not succeed, not even with a thought. I did not undermine her even with a thought—not one, not one, cursed! I was never able to touch her because That One always watched over her. There was always That One. It is not my fault. I was not able to touch her. I was afraid.”
- “Another time, with evident metaphoric language (the demon not having either skin or brain because of the nature of its immaterial spirit), a demon said, ‘Every time that she (referring to Our Lady) descends onto the earth, we sink even lower. Every one of her tears is a hole in our skin. Every one of her glances is a tearing of our brain. Every one of her steps is our end. We are looking to stop her, but we do not succeed because she is more powerful than us. Evil has no power over her.’”
- “One time, the demon expressed the continual gratitude of Mary to God as follows: ‘She always sings the praises of That One, as she did before, but very few on earth are able to hear when she sings.’ The demon probably was referring here to our incapacity to understand fully the greatness of that Heart that praises God for the benefit of her children.”
Speaking at the 2017 Exorcists Rome course, Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect for the Causes of Saints, first said, “Killing in the name of God is diabolical!” He cited the murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel at his parish, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, while celebrating Mass. The fact that this episode took place in a church, killing a priest, a minister of the Lord and involving the faithful, points to the diabolical part of it.
He also cited the diabolical nature of abortion, the vehement demonic hatred of new life, of children, and of the family; and also the increasing extreme violence in the world that is the devil’s sacrilege. Then, Cardinal Amato pointed to the Marian event at Fatima: “God desires real devotion to the Immaculate Heart, and reparation to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts on first Fridays.” He recalled the sacrifices of the Fatima seers, Lucia, Francesco, and Jacinta—following their vision of the horror of Hell and so many souls falling into it. They gave their food away to the poor (fasted), and gave up “playing,” motivated by love for Our Lady of Fatima, and for the salvation of souls.
Cardinal Amato emphasized that “We have tools to dominate evil. Christianity is not a religion of discouragement. When we face evil that God allows, He helps us. We place our hope in Him, entrusting ourselves more to God in our weakness. And we entrust ourselves to Mary, sharing in her work of proclaiming God’s victory over evil, always hoping and trusting in God’s victory; our liberation in Him. The key is to entrust ourselves to Jesus through Mary.”
We can consider all of the above in light of the Marian teaching and prophecy of St. Maximilian Kolbe. That Mary is a warrior for Christ reaches into our discipleship. Our communion with Christ, Chief Exorcist, and His serpent stomping Mother of Grace, places us in opposition of the enemy of God and souls. Have you internalized your call to be a Marian soldier for Christ? This reality is first conceived in the heart through grace and prayer. Then the will engages for love of God and souls. Mary and the Holy Spirit form our response and teach us how to fight the good fight.
St. Kolbe teaches:
“We have to win the universe and each individual soul, now and in the futures, down to the end of time, for the Immaculate, and by her for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Further, we must be on the watch so that nobody tears any soul away from its consecration to the Immaculate; we should strive rather that souls may constantly deepen their love for her; that the bond of love between her and these souls may grow ever closer, and that these souls may henceforth be one with her. …She will act through them in so far as they belong to her. Hence there must remain nothing in them that is theirs; they must be hers totally.” (Kolbe’s personal notes, April 23, 1933, quoted by Fr. H.M. Manteau-Bonamy, O.P., Immaculate Conception and the Holy Spirit, Prow Books, Franciscan Marytown Press, IL, 1977.)
Mother Mary, take us deeper into the fortress of your Immaculate Heart; form us into fearless warriors for Christ. Thank you for being our victorious Mother, defender against evil spirits. Amen.
image: Virgin Mary and the devil from BL YT 13, f. 155v, circa 1325 – 1349 / Public Domain