Centuries old advice on how to fight and remove evil spirits
This article is especially written in consideration for those who are being openly oppressed or attacked by demons and evil spirits, and are seeking to rid themselves or their homes of the influences or presence of malevolent spirits.
Having spent years studying the lives of dozens of Saints and Mystics for this website, one quickly discovers the role that God allows the demons to play for example in the lives of the mystic-saints. God Himself explains it when He said to St Gemma Galgani:
“You will be trampled underfoot by the devils. Prepare yourself, my daughter, the demon at My orders will be the one that will add the last touch to my plan that I will accomplish in you, that is, your sanctification."
-And what an incredibly hellish war the devil waged against Gemma! Those interested can read more about it here.
But the point is that literally every mystic that I have read have been assailed by the evil spirits through the express permission of God. But then, why would God allow the demons to attack the mystics or anyone for that matter? It is to draw us closer to Himself. God permits, at times, the devils to assail us, that we might turn to Him in prayer, with a renewed trust in His love and concern for us. The extraordinary priest St John Vianney, who's straw bed the devil tried to burn when he was sleeping in it, once remarked that "the devil is like a dog on a chain. He can only go so far as God permits."
So the first rule to remember is that God is always in absolute control, and the devil can do nothing without God's permission.
God always seeks to draw good out of everything, and He can draw good even out of evil, if we let Him. An excellent example of how God draws good out of evil is the Passion and Death of Jesus Himself. The Gospel of John says that at the last supper Satan entered Judas and he then went and betrayed Jesus. -You certainly know the story--Jesus was captured, tortured, and was nailed to a Cross, and died a torturous death. But was the death of the Son of God, this at act of pure evil, a victory for satan and the demons? No! -it was in fact satans defeat, because through Jesus' death on the cross we can be forgiven of our sins, if we desire to be. So we can readily see how God can and does transform evil into good.
A spiritual battle must be fought with spiritual weapons
So, how does all this correlate to those who are battling with demons, and want to rid themselves of the evil spirits? Firstly we need to look at how Jesus fought and expelled and cast out the demons. Among others you will certainly want to read Mark 5:1, Mark 1:23, and perhaps the most telling is Mark 9:29 in which the apostles were unsuccessful in driving a demon out of a boy. So afterwards they asked Jesus why they could not drive the demon out, and Jesus replies: "This kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting."
Prayer and fasting! Therein lies the primary spiritual weapons to be used to get rid of demons and evil spirits. Jesus said prayer first, because prayer is the first and most important weapon to be used against the devil. This can not be emphasised enough! Prayer unites us to God, and draws us closer to Him, and it is God alone who can free us from the demonic presences. We can do nothing without He Whom sustains us!
The other weapon against the devil that Jesus mentions is fasting. This is self-explanatory, but what is sometimes forgotten is the spirit that must accompany fasting. We are to fast from food in a spirit of sacrifice in reparation for our sins. Our sins are what separate us from God, so we are to fast in a spirit of penance and reparation for our sins, to put us in the proper disposition that God might forgive us of these sins. So, firstly prayer, and then fasting done in a spirit of reparation for our sins, is the primary recourse against evil spirits. The demons have no power over those who are closely united to God in prayer, and who are in a state of grace.
The devil does not make peace treaties
God loves us. And because God loves us, the devil and the demons hate us, because they hate God. "Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:7)
Satan and the demons do not make any peace treaties. They know only war. They prowl about the world constantly seeking to ruin our souls, to cause us to despair of God's mercy, and to drag us to hell. So, we need to follow in Jesus' holy example and face the evil spirits head on, with courage. We must do battle and fight the good fight. We cannot run away, because as Father John Corapi always says "surrender is not an option!"
Key points for Catholics in the fight against the demonic
Catholics are in a privileged position in the battle against the evil spirits, because the Catholic church has been fighting against the powers of hell since Jesus instituted the Church upon Peter, the first Pope, and the Apostles (the Bishops) some 2000 years ago. For in the Holy Gospel Jesus says: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." (Matt 3:16)
Along with prayer and fasting Catholics have powerful weapons to be used in the fight against evil presences. The most important of these is Sacramental Confession (also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation) where sins are confessed to God, and forgiveness of sins is obtained. A soul free from sin is in a state of grace and has nothing to fear from the devil! Along with Confession, the Mass and the frequent reception of the Eucharist are the most efficacious means of battling with evil. Also prayers before the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharistic adoration) is exceedingly powerful, because then one is praying right at the feet of the Lord.
The devil flees from Jesus on the cross so if you do not already have one, get a Crucifix and have it blessed by a priest, and place it in a appropriate and worthy place in your home--and most especially, pray to Jesus before it each day. Also, if you do not have one, get a crucifix on a necklace, get it blessed and wear it with devotion and prayer.
Prayers to the Virgin Mary, the Saints and Angels
(Pictured to the left is the Virgin Mary crushing the head of the evil serpent)
By the express power and will of God, the most Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and the Saints assist us in our battle with evil. Jesus gave us His Mother while He was dying, hanging between heaven and earth upon the Cross (John 19:26). And next to Jesus, our Mother in heaven is our greatest help and advocate against the devil and his minions. And the greatest prayer asking for our Blessed Mothers help is the most Holy Rosary. The Rosary is a chain that binds the evil spirits. Those interested might want to read more on the Blessed Virgin Mary's role in the battle against the demons here.
Along with the Blessed Virgin Mary certain Saints and Angels are especially powerful against the wickedness of the devil. St Michael the Archangel for example---the prayer to him has been recited for over a century and is exceedingly powerful---"St Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O' Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."
Throughout the centuries, the relics of the Saints have shown to be exceedingly powerful against the demons. Pray to the Saints, and if possible keep a relic on your person.
Sacramentals, especially holy water and blessed salt should be sprinkled in the affected areas of the home, and the holy water and blessed salt should be sprinkled on one's food and drink to protect from within. (*see note about exorcised holy water and salt below). Along with the relics of the Saints, blessed medals and holy cards carry with them the blessing of the Catholic Church, and the protection of the Saint whose image is on the medal or holy card. Also, the burning of blessed candles and blessed incense is recognised to be a very powerful weapon against the demons.
And so, to summarize the spiritual weapons needed to rid oneself or one's home of evil spirits:
First and foremost is prayer which draws us closer to God; fasting in a spirit of reparation for one's sins; Confession; Holy Communion; Eucharistic adoration; Prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Angels and Saints, asking for their heavenly help and intercession; and the usage of Sacramentals (holy water, blessed salt, holy cards, medals, burning of blessed candles and blessed incense etc.). Abandon and renounce any sin in your life. Additionally, if your home appears to be the source of the demonic infestation, then it would be very prudent to get it blessed by a priest.
Additional important considerations
In closing, those oppressed by evil spirits should remember that faith, hope and love--most especially love, will help disarm the demons that plague them or their dwelling. The devil seeks to drive us to the opposite of faith, hope and love--that is doubt, despair and hatred---most especially despair. Do not not despair! Love and trust in Jesus and He will conquer and cast out the evil spirits.
Also, those who have ever engaged in dark practices such as demonic worship, invoking and calling upon the dead (thru ouija boards, medium and psychic practices etc) the occult, dark forms of witchcraft and wicca, black magic etc. MUST RENOUNCE THESE PAST PRACTICES before God and sincerely repent and ask for forgiveness for having engaged in them. Such practices offend God and open a portal to the demonic, and therefore the portal must be closed through sincere repentance and the desire for the mercy and forgiveness of God.
Finally, ask Jesus to pour out His precious blood upon you and your loved ones because the precious blood of Jesus is infinitely powerful.
*Note: There is a special ritual of prayer called an "exorcism blessing" that any Priest can recite to give salt and holy water a special blessing. This exorcised salt or holy water is especially powerful against evil spirits.
"....And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, an Angel of Satan to beat me, to keep me from being too exalted." Saint Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7