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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Exorcists Recount Real Experiences

Exorcists Recount Real Experiences

Jesus Garcia-Colomer 

Our Lord Jesus Christ was quite explicit in making a distinction between curing the sick and casting out demons in His mandates to the Church. It is a fact that the preternatural action of Satan exists in our world and time. To counter it the Church has exorcists. They are appointed by their Bishops and provide direct testimonies that, in the struggle between good and evil, Christ is the conqueror now and forever. 

A painful & dramatic struggle

”After analyzing the life of the possessed, I came to a clear conclusion from my long experience as an exorcist: They all experience a painful and dramatic struggle, a true Calvary between the good and the evil, between the light of love of Jesus Christ and the darkness of the Devil, between the all that is God and the nothing that is the Devil.”

fr hearnadez exorcist
Exorcist Fr. Hernandez warns that possessions are more common than we think
These words of Fr. Salvador Hernandez, exorcist of the Diocese of Cartagena, Spain, introduce a topic that, still largely unknown even by Catholics, is more common than we might think. Fr. Salvador Hernandez is one of the priests who give his testimony in the book This Is How the Devil Is Conquered: The Possessed and the Exorcists Speak (Así se Vence al Demonio. Hablan los Poseidos. Hablan los Exorcistas, José María Zavala, ed. Libros Libres, 2012).

Fr. Hernandez' words correspond perfectly to the case of Maria and Sergio, who asked us to use fictitious names. The married couple had a seemingly normal life: Born in Madrid, both were in their 30s with degrees, married for three years and the parents of one child. Maria worked as a store clerk and Sergio earned his living in a multinational computer firm. Nothing seemed missing for them to be happy.

However, what looked a model photo from a family magazine hid a bleak and disturbing reality. Maria suffered a demonic possession and had been receiving the help of an exorcist for over a year.

Spell casters
Professional spell-makers offer their services for hire; below, modern youth mimic Harry Potter and his friends who cast the Dazzling Spell

stunning potter
“During our courtship we had no problems,” relates Sergio. ”After two years of dating, we decided to get married. We were very happy, but, from the first day of marriage, our problems started.” This might be said as well about many newly married couples, but the problems Sergio was speaking of went beyond the normal adjustments in sharing a life together.

“I began to notice strange behavior in my wife. It is difficult to define, but I observed strange words, behaviors and even gestures that I had never seen before. I assure you that we did not enter into marriage lightly and I thought I knew her well, but at times it seemed that she had completely changed,” Sergio said.

Maria soon fell into a depression for which there was no apparent reason. She herself admitted that she had everything she had ever dreamed of, but sometimes a deep sadness flooded her and she would turn against Sergio. She was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, although she had never shown any symptoms of it, and began an ordeal of pills and treatments that never improved the situation.

Sergio remembers with dread some episodes where his wife, after having provoked absolutely absurd and senseless argument, “would suddenly seem to realize that she had hurt me and, then, suffered more for doing that.”

This description confirms the testimony of Fr. Salvador on possession: ”The victims themselves have told me many times that they felt dominated by interior diabolical forces that caused them all kinds of evils and vexations, leading them to do the same with others.”

'A laugh that did not seem to come from her'

The problem is to determine whether those “interior impulses” come from demonic powers. Sergio told Revista Misión how, after two years of marriage, they came to the conclusion that they needed the help of an exorcist. “You don't see ads for exorcists in the streets or even in the churches.”

The strange behavior became obsessive in Maria, and her recklessness with money created a serious problem in the family, even though she had always followed a strict economy. Sergio was already seriously considering separation when something happened that opened his mind to a different initiative:

palm reader
Dabbling in any kind of the occult can open the door to the devils
“I never knew what Maria I would find when I got home. I was about to throw everything in the towel when one day, during a discussion in the living room, as she screamed at me, a lamp bulb exploded and she let out a laugh that did not seem to come from her. It was just for a moment, but I had the strong sensation we were not alone in that room.“

“Indeed, this description had signs of being a case of possession,“ confirmed Fr. Jesus Martinez Racionero, an exorcist with several years of experience in this ministry which seems more necessary today than ever before. ”The need is because today there are more witches than priests,” Fr. Martinez notes in his lectures. “This incident is a clear case of identity theft,“ the exorcist explains, “where a person does things and manifests behaviors without realizing it, directed by another will outside himself.”

“Obviously, if this foreign power leads him to do bad things,” he continues, “it is coming from a devil or even more than one, because when a possession takes place, there can be one, often two or more.”

Starting from the premise that the Devil exists and that Christ himself expelled devils and entrusted this ministry to His Church, when a priest suspects a possible case of possession, the first step he takes is to discern whether what is happening to the person in question comes from an demonic action or some kind of sickness.

At times, “both realities can be present,” explains Fr. Enrique Gonzalez, who for 10 years was Madrid's only exorcist . … But exorcists strive to find the difference between illness and possession” because the Gospel itself is very explicit when it speaks of Jesus healing the sick or, in other cases, expelling devils.”

From infestation of objects to possession

The manual used by several exorcists who spoke to the Misión gives clear guidelines about the extra-ordinary activities of the Devil vs. ordinary activity, which is temptation. On a scale from lesser to greater gravity of such extra-ordinary action, the first and least is the infestation of places or things. For example, a house or place where witchcraft is practiced is inhabited by those evil spirits.

gianforte yoga
Despite the warning of exorcists and the US Bishops, modern sisters practice Reiki above, and Yoga, below
Second, there is vexation, which is an external direct attack of the Devil against a person. An example is the beatings inflicted by the Devil on various saints.

Next, comes demonic influence, when a demon has the explicit mission to embitter the life of a specific person, distressing him in a thousand ways different, which can range from manipulating objects, burning books, damaging cars or phones to suggesting bad thoughts against himself or others with strong insistence, although without actually possessing the person.

Finally, a higher degree of extraordinary activity is demonic possession, where the main symptom is the kidnapping of the will; that is, when a person does actions that do not come from himself, where the person surprises himself by what he does. “In fact,” explains Fr. Martinez, ”psychologically, the line is erased between the will of the person and of the Devil.” This was the case of Maria, the wife of Sergio.

Kidnapping the will is one of the clearest symptoms of possession.

Another can be an aversion to the sacred, though, at first, this is not always present. In fact, even if a person is possessed, he can receive Communion with apparent normality, as was the case of María at Sunday Mass. This obviously “bothers the Devil that lurks in that person a lot,” said Fr. Gabriel Amorth, exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. ”The aversion to the sacred is often more visible once the process of liberation [the exorcism] has begun.”

The aversion to sacred objects and the Sacraments or the trance that a possessed person enters at the beginning of the exorcism clearly demonstrate that the action of grace is a power stronger than the action of the Devil, that Jesus Christ conquers him through Holy Mother Church.

If God permits the cross of possession, experienced even by canonized saints such as St. Gemma Galgani, it is because it is for a greater good. ...

If the conclusion is demonic involvement, the priest should refer the case to an exorcist, who will begin the prayer sessions. For an exorcism is “a prayer of intercession to God for the release of that person from the Devil's hold,” states Fr. Martinez.

Witchcraft and divination, entrance doors for evil

The most common cases of demonic influence or possession today originate from things often considered harmless or even benevolent . According to Fr. Martinez, the most common doors that open the entrance for the Devil are the practice of magic, spiritualism, Ouija board sessions and transcendental meditation exercises.

“Ninety percent of the cases of possessions occur by evil spells - persons who go to sorcerers or witches who, invoking the Devil, send an evil spirit to work against another person.” He said he has seen innumerable such cases involving spells, the evil eye, curses ...

In fact, this was the origin of evil suffered by Maria, the wife of Sergio. A co-worker who had taken a fancy to him commissioned a spell against Maria so that he would leave her and she could conquer him, taking advantage of the circumstances.

Do's and don'ts

The exorcists also give us advice to defend ourselves from the attacks of Satan. ”The practice of the Sacraments is important, especially the Holy Eucharist and Confession.

sacred heart
Devotions like that of the Sacred Heart are a safeguard against the evil spirits
A life of piety and prayer, especially praying the Rosary; the use of sacramentals such as holy water and exorcised salt and, finally, leading a life of closeness to Our Lord are safeguards, because “although sometimes God allows these attacks of the Devil against very pious and saintly persons, it is not at all common,” said Fr. Martinez.

Some of the most common doors that allow the Devil to enter a person's life are certain practices of transcendental meditation, Reiki or Yoga. Fr. Miguel Perez is not an official exorcist, but on occasions he has participated in prayer sessions for liberation, a degree less that a major exorcism. ”Any kind of spiritual exercise that does not include Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is used by the enemy spirits to make themselves present and do evil,” he warned.

As Fr. González says, “The Devil never sleeps and takes advantage of every opportunity.”

Yet we should not forget the words of Fr. Hernandez, “Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to work miracles today through this humble ministry of exorcism, expelling devils from the bodies of their victims as He did during His stay on earth more than 20 centuries ago.”

Symptoms of a possession

The more ambiguous would be:
  • A persistent sickness that is diagnosed and resistant to treatment;
  • A difficult personal situation on several fronts that cannot be resolved.
The more evident would be:
  • To feel presences;
  • Paranormal phenomena;
  • Hearing interior voices or having extremely real nightmares;
  • Self-injurious behavior: attempted suicide, self abuse, etc.
Any of these symptoms takes on more importance if the person has participated in séances, spiritualist, Ouija board or Reiki sessions, or has consulted persons who engage in magic, witchcraft, fortune telling or satanic rites.  

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