Wednesday 11 March 2015

Spiritual Preparation of the Exorcist

Nobody goes to a battle unprepared. Even the Lord Jesus Himself uses the imagery of preparing to go to war as an indispensable part of the strategy to win it: "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?" (Luke 14:31) This is the same thing as well in the ministry of spiritual liberation and exorcism. The priest on behalf of the whole Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, in the name of her Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, goes to wage war against the devil and his legions. And he can not just go and attack without preparing himself for the battle. To do so would not only be foolish but also dangerous. Therefore, he prepares himself spirituality seeing to it that he is fully cloth in the armor that would protect him from the vicious attacks of the enemy. And that he has all the weapons given to him by Christ and the Church to use against the vile creature.
 "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Concretely, his preparation consists in making a good sacramental confession, reverent celebration of Holy Mass, meditation on the Word of God, mortification of the senses, fasting, prayer to Our Blessed Lady the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God seeking her maternal assistance and protection, prayers to one's patron saints, in my case --Sts. Joseph, Nicholas, Dominic de Guzman, Thomas Aquinas, Dominic Savio, Carlo Acutis, all Dominican Saints and Blesseds, prayer to Sts. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and the Holy Angels to assist and fight for and in behalf of the exorcist and the afflicted against the legions of unclean spirits. In truth the exorcist never battles alone. He is united with the whole Church both in Heaven and on Earth. During the course of the ministry the assistance of these heavenly friends are very evident.


The Centrality of Jesus Christ

The ministry of spiritual liberation and exorcisms is a Christian ministry. Hence, the source, as well as the real minister, and the end is always and will be JESUS CHRIST. He is the one, who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven (Nicene Creed). He is the one who tells us "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."(John 15:5) This principle must be very clear to all.

The ministry is performed in obedience to Him who speaks to and through the Church which He founded. There is nothing in the exorcist that makes him special. No talent, no particular charism, no special power, that he does not already share with all the priests of the Church. The ministry is primarily a priestly ministry and is rooted in the very priesthood of Jesus Christ himself to which all priests derived their priesthood. Hence, the real focus of the ministry is the Lord Jesus Himself. Therefore both exorcist and the afflicted need to orient themselves to this truth.

The earnest prayer of supplication to be liberated from the power of the evil one is addressed to the God the Father through Jesus Christ. The imperative prayers, the very prayers that command the unclean spirits to depart are all given in the name and power of Jesus Christ.

How wonderful and awesome indeed is the Holy Name of Jesus. For whenever an exorcist with confident faith use that name to command the unclean spirits, the demons tremble with fear. They will resist and not obey with all their strength. They would mock and blaspheme but this is simply all show, nothing but a puff of hot air. But the power of that name, they could not overcome.

If the spiritually afflicted would indeed call upon the name of the Lord with expectant faith, in total trust in God's mercy and love, and in humility, the healing is not to distant. "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise". (Psa. 51:17)


The Necessity of Faith

Faith is a vital component of the ministry; without which there would be no healing, no liberation. The Lord Jesus demands this from his disciples (Matt 14:31). He requires this from those who would like to be healed (Mk 6:6). For FAITH is "man's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life". (CCC 26) Both on the part of the exorcist and the one who seeks for liberation faith is confidence and trust in God's superabundant love and compassion.

As to content, this faith accepts God as the Father ALMIGHTY. One who is afflicted with unclean spirits would often experience their overpowering oppression over the mind, soul, and body. It is so easy to surrender to their whispers that one is beyond help and that God has abandoned them. But this is simply a big lie because God wills that all men be save and come to the knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim 2:4). The demons will say they are powerful, this is true if you compare him to us human beings. But God is Omnipotent (All powerful), and this is the Supreme Truth. And when we are in Him, then we know that greater is He that dwells in you than he that dwells in the world. (1 John 4:4).  And again We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. (Rom. 8:37).

Therefore, both the Exorcist and the Afflicted must approach this ministry armed with this faith, otherwise it would be a waste of time and effort. How many times have I seen this truth? Always! And so without faith, without confident faith it is impossible to please God. (Jas. 1:6; Heb 11:6)