Other incisive analogies could’ve been made, but why get myself laicized?
Happy Feast Day!
Other incisive analogies could’ve been made, but why get myself laicized?
Happy Feast Day!
There are four moments at Holy Mass where I particularly meet up with Jesus:
I’m writing this early Sunday Morning before 6:00 AM Adoration and Confessions and the Masses and Communion Calls, some perhaps with Last Rites. If you read this early on, a Hail Mary please, that I will preach well today of Christ Jesus and His blessed Mother. The Gospel is about exorcism. Yikes!
If it seems that I’m a bit irritated with the inanity of some of fellow “Scripture Scholars” and their fake “Messianic Secret,” well, you would be right.
Full disclosure, this Gospel passage is on exorcism. And I’m buried in exorcism cases. Some of my fellow “Scripture Scholars” would be the absolute worst assistants to have at an exorcism.
What any demon manifests is always directed by Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning. Even during an exorcism whatever Satan or his demonic minions have to say is meant as deception even if on the face of it the truth is to be had. Sometimes the method, the circumstances change everything so that the truth is perverted upside-down, inside-out, back-to-front, always what the dark prince of this world – as he is called – wants in his arrogance and writhing spiritual and intellectual frustration.
Before the crowds can react to the miracles and instruction of Jesus, the devil jumps in to start “evangelizing”. What a fright, unless we are with Jesus. In that case, we laugh, heartily. For the love of Jesus provided by Him, the Son of the Living God, cuts through the mind games of Satan such as this fake “evangelizing”.
But if we are not with Jesus – or just fake out even ourselves that we are with Jesus even though we are not keeping His commandments and not respecting our neighbor – well then, we will fall into the trap of the false “evangelizing” of Satan.
But perhaps we are afraid to really hear what the Gospel has to say. I know that I have been afraid for a very long time in that the Gospels of recent have been opened up to me. Not that I’m “special” mind you. I’m trying to confess here that I’ve been belligerent in not listening to the Holy Spirit for so very long. Saint Peter says this:
I rant a bit against some of fellow Scripture scholars and their methods of interpretation manifesting their adherence to dialectical materialism, to marxism. Forgive me this. I get into the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven pretty quickly.
/// off sarcasm
Here’s the deal: yesterday, all day yesterday, I was away, far away, out of state, in one of the other dioceses of these United States, having been mandated by that bishop, that local ordinary, to do up an exorcism for a gentle soul whom it was a privilege to meet. It was my normal and almost always epic “Day Off.” I make sure about that because it’s my own time and I’m NOT taking away from ministry to this parish (and assistance with the other, fully, then, four counties).
And, yes, I had an absolute blast (to use an old word of decades gone by). I love being a priest. I love priestly fraternity. It does me good. It does all priests good. Don’t begrudge your priests some “down time,” even with other priests. You never know what they might be doing for Christ Jesus and His Church, His flock.
Sorry for being so very brash. I’m just in a good mood that the Lord offers me forgiveness for my multitude of sins, offers that my name be inscribed in heaven. That’s on Him, not me. He is very good and kind.
When becoming Pastor of this Catholic Parish of Holy Redeemer in Andrews, NC, I immediately asked our great Bishop for permission to provide the Exorcism of a Place for dwellings in my parish and those in other parishes in the diocese as long as those pastors gave me permission. Granted and granted again, always and immediately.
The most recent exorcism of a place was just the other day up in Graham County, a house newly acquired by new parishioners moving in from way out of state. They had a good reason for this specialized house-blessing and it wasn’t that everything everywhere was smothered in thick poison ivy:
The house is a wreck, and not just because of mold, having been uninhabited for quite some time. It seems this was a druggie house, and a satanic ritual house. I didn’t take pictures of the “artwork” provided by the druggie satanists. Awful. But I did take a picture of that graffito up top of this post… um… edited… but you get the idea.
Of course, druggies, in all of their coolness in acting against society and any authority such as the police, die of overdoses, and that also happened there. Horrible.
But, the house will be gutted physically just it has now been of any presence of Satan because of the exorcism.
Just a coincidence, but I was immediately escorted, if you will, by Law Enforcement from this house all the way back to Andrews (which is in another county). Thanks, guys.
First of all, we are not in any kind of stage of a quarantine of any kind. San Francisco called for a State of Emergency, but that was just a cynical move to release Federal monies they otherwise can’t get at this time for sanctuary cities. It has nothing to do with any COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. No. Demoncrats are self-centered jerks and want to cause panic.
And I don’t say we are any kind of stage of a quarantine YET. No. That also would be to panic. See above.
Having said that, let’s take the worst case scenario – a declared pandemic – so as to point out how to avoid the worst case scenario, which would not refer to any medical condition (more people dying from the flu or smoking or car accidents…), but rather panic, which would be the logistical cause of death for hyperbolically more cases of death. So…
So, no worries then! Jesus, I joyously trust in You.
Meanwhile, I’ve lost 52.xx pounds on Keto so far, and I’m going off Keto soon, transitioning over to something more high protein and not neglecting carbs. Trundling off to Walmart grocery to stock up on non-Keto items, I noticed lots of almost empty shelves, just a few packages of oatmeal, a packet or two of lentil beans, that kind of thing. It looked like panic buying. That’s O.K. Those panic buyers are all set now and won’t be emptying out stores in panic buying. Don’t panic. Instead, drop off real dead weight that holds you back. Go to Confession!
The main activity of the “Day Off” was taken up with an exorcism, the concluding of an exorcism.
A few take-away points:
On that last point we have to recognize that our Lord use’s irony as a major weapon against Satan. Jesus is the One who confronts Satan on Calvary. Jesus is our Warrior. The rest of us, the apostles and bishops and priests – all of us – we have all followed Satan and been subject to Satan – in original sin and personal sin – and have all crucified the Son of the Living God. Who are we, then, to command Satan to depart? In other words, Jesus has us lowly priests, sinful priests, nothing priests, but His priests, command Satan for the sake of irony, extremely crushing irony, unbearable irony, infuriating irony, irony that makes Satan and his minions writhe in their writhingness with intellectual and spiritual frustration for eternity.
Some weirdnesses about this exorcism for this young person who was accompanied by her parents, by parish staff, by friends and parish clergy, all with, of course, the express mandate of the local bishop:
Finally, the end result was great, great joy, restful peace, for all, for the young person, for the parents, for the friends and helpers, for the clergy. Jesus was thanked. Only He is the One. Only He is the only One.
P.S. Just to say, the painting up top of this post, of Saint Michael smashing down Satan, comes from my own smart-phone camera when I was there, in that interrogation room of the head of security for Vatican City State. Yes, there’s a good story there. The question is, why did I put that painting at the top of this post?
With other angels or on his own, Saint Michael is mentioned throughout the Sacred Scriptures. He is successful in his battle against Satan because of his humility, which makes him, as his name indicates, one Who Is Like Unto God. Saint Michael does not get in God’s way with sin and pride and all that is demonic. Instead, Saint Michael lets God shine through himself to the greater honor and glory of God.
There is a prayer to Saint Michael which all can say, a prayer which many popes have indicated be said after Holy Mass, a short version of a longer version of a much longer version. The short version is available to all as it is stripped of direct commands to Satan, and instead directs the one praying to make a humble petition to Saint Michael:
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection 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, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
Great! But many are not content with that, thinking that if one does not personally and in the first person make brave to rebuke Satan, directly commanding him to depart (which is always an exorcism, not just “delivery”), then all prayers to Saint Michael and to God Himself are useless, stupid, a distraction, not permitting one to show how powerful one is oneself over against Satan. And so they command Satan though they are not exorcists and are therefore not expressly mandated by their bishops to do so in the name of Jesus. They say they have empirical proof that they are powerful over against Satan, that they are the ones who know better, who are special, who don’t have to be “limited” to humble petition because simple prayer is NOTHING! Really? Just. Wow. They say simple prayer has no effect. It’s only when they themselves do exorcisms and speciouly call those exorcisms mere private and pious prayer (how very ironic) that things happen…. Yeah, I bet that’s exactly right. Things happen. Satan plays a mind game with them, making those raising themselves up look like they have POWER! Ooooh! “Power.”
It is said that what they do is simple and not solemn, private and not public, relatively modern instead of relatively ancient, short and not long, “delivery” instead of exorcism… all false distinctions meant to say that directly commanding Satan is not an exorcism. Here’s the deal: Commanding Satan is always and in every instance an exorcism by definition. That’s precisely why they do it. But they are also those who say that 2+2=5. Pfft.
It is said that some guy at Ecclesia Dei in a response to a private person (a priest) said it was O.K. to just go ahead and recite the longer version, with the exorcisms as part of one’s private, pious prayer. But an exorcism, however quietly said in a hidden manner, is always, by definition, a public act of the Church, drawing on the merits of Christ and the saints. But it seems to me that this private suggestion by Ecclesia Dei is not legislation for the whole church, nor does it undo previous and authoritative decisions that this is not to be done except with the express mandate of the local ordinary as we see in the universal law of the Church.
When I was a kid, I remember seeing the longer versions of the Saint Michael prayer with the exorcisms, with an accompanying indication that the exorcisms were to be skipped by those who are not mandated to do exorcisms. But I digress.
Humbly following canon law and the mind of the legislator as expressed in authoritative decisions about the same and as directed to the universal Church is, it seems to me, the way to go. Humility in the midst of the Church is way to go. God does not penalize us if we act with humility. Saint Michael does not abandon us if we act with humility. Our guardian angels do not mock us if we act with humility.
Again, what Ecclesia Dei did was not only not presented for approval by the Holy Father in forma specifica, but it was also not declared that it was approved by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In my experience, it’s when laity and priests who are not exorcists just go ahead and do exorcisms that problems begin.
From time to time I’ll ask for prayers for Pope Francis. That’s always a good idea. There is no one more attacked by Satan than any Pope, whoever it happens to be, saint or sinner, who lives within the Tradition or is simply a heretic, who lives as an ascetic or as el creepo. One wants the Pope to assist in bringing us all into unity with Him who is the Living and unmanipulatable Truth, Christ Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception. Praying for the Pope doesn’t comment that one agrees or disagrees with anything he says or does. Your prayers are that he be in humble thanksgiving to Jesus, and therefore that he live and teach in a saintly manner always regardless of what he is presently doing and teaching, or not. This is not difficult. But for some, apparently, it is.
I received this Speedy reaction to my last appeal for prayers for Pope Francis the other day, light lightening. It is from a Satanist in Canada, apoplectic that I get absolutely everything wrong. Let’s take this sentence by sentence. Let’s call this person Speedy:
And that’s the end of the screed. It’s like I can hear howling and barking from this Satanist upon finishing this attack on Jesus and Jesus’ Church, upon heaping praise for Satan. If this is a someone who allowed “theirself” to become bitter and frustrated and angry and icily cynical and vicious, well… speaking directly to this person… I hope you will come around: choose eternal life, not eternal death. So, therefore:
Here’s the deal: Even if Pope Francis were to be teaching and doing all those truly evil things listed above (NOT!), would we not all the more want to pray for Pope Francis to assist in bringing him out of the darkest of existential peripheries? Yes. So, also:
Cameras and pictures are weird.
No, Shadow-dog is not possessed. He’s a good dog!
Meanwhile, I know people all over this country who are being attacked by Satan’s minions, for real. Prayers for them, please: Hail Mary…
Dear Pope Francis, if you want to translate the finer points of Sacred Scripture from its original Greek, you might ask a Scripture Scholar. This Missionary of Mercy is at your service.
[[ This commentary has been slightly revised and updated with the addition of the Ecclesia Dei response to dubia. ]]
The four matters commented upon here:
The Instruction of 14 December 2000 was approved by the ordinary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and shown to and approved by Saint John Paul II. This document cites Inde ab aliquot annis, which was also signed by Cardinal Ratzinger while Prefect of the CDF under Saint John Paul II.
Why you should read this post: Because we’ll be seeing lots more exorcisms taking place with all the new exorcists coming on board. This will help you keep your wits about you, knowing what the Church actually says about such things amidst all the various opinions. A couple of generations have gone by with almost no exorcists appointed in the entire Church. This means a loss of experiential wisdom, a risk of sensationalism, a risk of pride in going up against Satan. Let’s take a look at what the Church actually says. I don’t apologize for taking no prisoners. This is too important.
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
INSTRUCTION ON PRAYERS FOR HEALING 14 December 2000
[Let’s skip right to the disciplinary norms:]
Art. 1 – It is licit for every member of the faithful to pray to God for healing. When this is organized in a church or other sacred place, it is appropriate that such prayers be led by an ordained minister. [Since the distinction is about the place in which this happens, the logic is that it would be inappropriate for those who are not ordained to lead organized prayer for healing in a church or other sacred place.]
Art. 2 – Prayers for healing are considered to be liturgical if they are part of the liturgical books approved by the Church’s competent authority; otherwise, they are non-liturgical.
Art. 3 – § 1. Liturgical prayers for healing are celebrated according to the rite prescribed in the Ordo benedictionis infirmorum of the Rituale Romanum (28) and with the proper sacred vestments indicated therein.
§ 2. In conformity with what is stated in the Praenotanda, V., De aptationibus quae Conferentiae Episcoporum competunt (29) of the same Rituale Romanum, Conferences of Bishops may introduce those adaptations to the Rite of Blessings of the Sick which are held to be pastorally useful or possibly necessary, after prior review by the Apostolic See.
Art. 4 – § 1. The Diocesan Bishop has the right to issue norms for his particular Church regarding liturgical services of healing, following can. 838 § 4.
§ 2. Those who prepare liturgical services of healing must follow these norms in the celebration of such services.
§ 3. Permission to hold such services must be explicitly given, even if they are organized by Bishops or Cardinals, or include such as participants. Given a just and proportionate reason, the Diocesan Bishop has the right to forbid even the participation of an individual Bishop. [This, of course, has historical reference to the one time Archbishop, Emmanuel Milingo, who was forbidden to participate in such things in the Archdiocese of Milan. Milingo was “laicized” / dismissed from the clerical state in 2009.]
Art. 5 – § 1. Non-liturgical prayers for healing are distinct from liturgical celebrations, as gatherings for prayer or for reading of the word of God; these also fall under the vigilance of the local Ordinary in accordance with can. 839 § 2. [All of this should be obvious, but the abundance of disobedience requires that this be reiterated. The cry “We can do whatever we want!” is frequently to be heard, just as Satan’s cry of “Non serviam!” (I will not serve!) is likewise frequently heard. When there is disobedience you can be sure Satan is nearby.]
§ 2. Confusion between such free non-liturgical prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations properly so-called is to be carefully avoided. [In fact, I’ve never even once seen anything that was not confused.]
§ 3. Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place. [Jesus doesn’t like hysteria. Really, He doesn’t. Jesus wrought exorcisms with quiet authority. Hysteria is a result of faked authority.]
Art. 6 – The use of means of communication (in particular, television) in connection with prayers for healing, falls under the vigilance of the Diocesan Bishop in conformity with can. 823 and the norms established by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Instruction of March 30, 1992.(30)
Art. 7 – § 1. Without prejudice to what is established above in art. 3 or to the celebrations for the sick provided in the Church’s liturgical books, prayers for healing – whether liturgical or non-liturgical – must not be introduced into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. [Wow. There. They said it. Totally cool. This happened and, I think, happens all the time, especially in Confession. That’s extremely imprudent. People recall the practice of Alphonsus Liguori, but not really. There is never a citation. Anyway, this is the legislation of Church now and it must be obeyed.]
§ 2. In the celebrations referred to § 1, one may include special prayer intentions for the healing of the sick in the general intercessions or prayers of the faithful, when this is permitted.
Art. 8 – § 1. The ministry of exorcism must be exercised in strict [“strict”] dependence on the Diocesan Bishop, and in keeping with [1.] the norm of can. 1172 [which I’ll try to present in another post with a document I presented to some 150 exorcists many years ago, but the idea is that the express mandate of the local ordinary is necessitated for an imprecatory exorcism], [2.], the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of September 29, 1985,(31) [which we will comment on further below], and [3.] the Rituale Romanum (32) [which will need its own series to comment upon].
§ 2. The prayers of exorcism contained in the Rituale Romanum must remain separate from healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical. [Get it? It’s not to be done. No direct commands to Satan in any kind of healing service. That ends about 99% of healing services.]
§ 3. It is absolutely forbidden to insert such prayers of exorcism into the celebration of the Holy Mass, the sacraments, or the Liturgy of the Hours. [And no matter how clear and repeatedly this is said, there will be people who will try to find loopholes. Read it: “Absolutely forbidden.” It is absolutely wrong. Nefas est! And, Fathers, to be explicit to the max: DO NOT DO THIS IN CONFESSION].
Art. 9 – Those who direct healing services, whether liturgical or non-liturgical, are to strive to maintain a climate of peaceful devotion in the assembly and to exercise the necessary prudence if healings should take place among those present; when the celebration is over, any testimony can be collected with honesty and accuracy, and submitted to the proper ecclesiastical authority. [One might find examples of the correct way of doing this in Lourdes.]
Art. 10 – Authoritative intervention by the Diocesan Bishop is proper and necessary when abuses are verified in liturgical or non-liturgical healing services, or when there is obvious scandal among the community of the faithful, or when there is a serious lack of observance of liturgical or disciplinary norms. [This is a reprimand to Bishops for not fulfilling their role of governance. In my experience, this is because those very bishops were happy to have such abuses take place, thinking that this was the nice thing to do].
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect, approved the present Instruction, adopted in Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, September 14, 2000, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.
+ Joseph Card. RATZINGER
+ Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B. Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
Letter to Ordinaries regarding norms on Exorcism
INDE AB ALIQUOT ANNIS – 29 September 1985
Your most Reverend Excellency,
Recent years have seen an increase in the number of prayer groups in the Church aimed at seeking deliverance from the influence of demons, while not actually engaging in real exorcisms. These meetings are led by lay people, even when a priest is present.
As the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been asked how one should view these facts, this Dicastery considers it necessary to inform Bishops of the following response:
1. Canon 1172 of the Code of Canon Law states that no one can legitimately perform exorcisms over the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local Ordinary (§ 1), and states that this permission should be granted by the local Ordinary only to priests who are endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life (§ 2). Bishops are therefore strongly advised to stipulate that these norms be observed.
2. From these prescriptions it follows that it is not even licit that the faithful use the formula of exorcism against Satan and the fallen angels, extracted from the one published by order of the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII, and even less that they use the integral text of this exorcism. Bishops should take care to warn the faithful, if necessary, of this. [“the faithful” – this speaks to individuals. The next paragraph speaks to groups. But in this paragraph 2 one sees that individuals even privately are absolutely forbidden to use the exorcism prayer from Leo XIII or anything extracted from it. That’s clear and strong. Priests generally are included, except for those who have the “special and express permission from the local Ordinary”. Disobey and you will get yourself in trouble. Disobedience is a sign of Satan’s presence. Disobedience is an open invitation to Satan to do his demonic worst.]
3. Finally, for the same reasons, Bishops are asked to be vigilant so that – even in cases that do not concern true demonic possession – those who are without the due faculty [priests included] may not conduct meetings during which invocations, to obtain release, are uttered in which demons are questioned directly and their identity sought to be known. [Priests without the due faculty still insist that because of the language in this paragraph they can still address Satan directly, so as to “bind” him, or some such thing, as if this were not an exorcism when, clearly, as a direct command to Satan, it is the very definition of an exorcism. Let’s just say it: forcing Satan with direct commands to answer questions and to reveal their identity is the very definition what is to go on in an exorcism, those direct commands being exorcisms is and of themselves in the larger exorcism or, in this case, with malicious deceit, the larger “deliverance” (which is actually an exorcism done in disobedience.]
Drawing attention to these norms, however, should in no way distance the faithful from praying that, as Jesus taught us, they may be delivered from evil (cf. Mt 6:13). [Exactly right. One may ask our Heavenly Father to rebuke Satan, as did Saint Michael himself. And this is how Jesus, the very Son of the Living God, told us all how to pray. Why is it that people think Jesus’ advice should be despised as worthless, or think themselves better than Saint Michael? I think that many have been misled, and that many think that they have to have power by way of doing exoricms, even to the point of disobeying the Church to do this. But such disobedience is to make friends with Satan.] Finally, Pastors may take this opportunity to recall what the Tradition of the Church teaches concerning the role proper to the sacraments and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of the Angels and Saints in the Christian’s spiritual battle against evil spirits. [Indeed, Confession is so very important. But don’t do exorcisms in Confession.]
I take the opportunity to express my deepest respects,
Your most esteemed in Christ,
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
At this point, some quote Father Amorth (an old friend), in An Exorcist: More Stories, 189-90 (translated from a book going back to January 1992 in Italian, by the way…), to say that…
official exorcisms are not allowed [by non-exorcists]; they are reserved exclusively for the exorcist. The same holds true for the exorcism of Leo XIII, even though it is now part of the public domain. The private use of such exorcisms is another matter; at least, this is how I understand the above-cited document.
“At least, this is how I understand…” he says tentatively.
But, let’s see if the much later document of “Ecclesia Dei” in 2015 has anything pertinent to say about anything private:
Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei
Pontificia Commissio “Ecclesia Dei”
Prot. N. 153/2009 – 26 June 2015*
[…] Thank you for your letter of 9 June 2015 [an instantaneous response], in which you submitted two dubia regarding the use of the Rituale Romanum of the Extraordinary Form (which is in fact the editio typica dated 1952).
In relation to the first dubium, namely “is a priest allowed to publicly and / or privately use the Exorcismus in satatam et angelos apostaticos (the so-called Exorcism of Leo XIII) found in Title XII of the 1956 Rituale Romanum without express permission of the local Ordinary”, this Pontifical Commission would respond as follows:
In relation to the second dubium, namely “can a deacon validly confect blessings which are not expresse jure permitted to him in the 1956 Rituale Romanum”, this Pontifical Commission would respond that regardless of the question of validity, it is clear from Can. 1169 § 3 that the faculty granted to a deacon to confect a blessing must be expressly conceded. Now, it does not appear that any such faculty has been granted to deacons by Church authority as regards the use of the blessing rites contained in the 1952 Rituale. Such concessions indeed exist in the 1984 De benedictionibus, but these are given on a rite-by-rite basis, and therefore only pertain to those particular rites referred to and laid out by that liturgical book, without any influence on the rights to use the blessings of the 1952 Rituale.
[…] + Guido Pozzo – Secretary
[*This 2015 letter was published years later in 2018 on the internet only in pdf form by Rorate. The transcription and interlinear commentary is mine].
Finally, just to end on a literary / film analogy, here’s a bit about power that was meant for good being corrupted into that which is evil. What do we become with fake authority? This is just a few seconds long:
Be careful, my fellow priests.
The other night, coming back from the day-off, very near the hermitage, I once again encountered a magnificent Timber Rattler. Screech! Sassy the Subaru’s brakes work most excellently. Out on to the road I popped with telephone camera in hand. I kept about eight feet away as he was ready to spring into action. I took a couple of pictures, and then a car came. I put Sassy into gear and carefully, deliberately, exaggeratedly drove around our snake friend, hoping the crowd in the car behind me would take note of the nice snake and drive around this wonder of nature. Instead, they very slowly and deliberately drove over him, thinking they had accomplished something.
And this is exactly why some exorcisms fail: because of pride, because of attacking Satan directly under one’s own (lack of) wherewithal, in one’s own name, not in the Holy Name of Jesus, but still thinking one has accomplished something.
This is a mind-game with Satan on his own terms, on his own turf. He will be happy to make one think that he has been thrown out, only to come back in a more insidious way. Jesus Himself speaks of this kind of stupidity. This is a seven-fold failure, a perfect fail.
We must go about our entire lives not with self-absorbed mind-games, not with self-referential ways and means, not with the darkness and blindness of pride, but instead through grace received in humility, we are to walk in the presence of Jesus, who is Himself our Savior:
There’s a huge difference. It’s the same with authority, which one must have:
Again, the exorcist who works under his own authority may seem to have great success baiting him into thinking that he is right to buck the authority Jesus Himself gave to His own Church. The disobedient exorcist may think he is himself most charitable, a martyr of charity. No. Satan will come back in more insidious ways, destroying peoples’ lives all the more effectively.
The upshot in our own lives: We are not to attack Satan directly. We are not to attack sin directly. Yes, we are to make a firm purpose of amendment, avoid occasions of sin, get out of an occasion of sin should we find ourselves in such, all the normal, traditional things. Yep.
BUT! But we are NOT to make it all about us, about how powerful and great we are, because we not that. Instead, we are to call on Saint Michael, on our guardian angels, and do this with humility. We are to be humbly thankful to Jesus for coming into this fallen world to grab us and bring us to heaven, because, wow, it’s so obvious we need saving and it’s He that is our Savior, NOT us. The person who says: “I’m doing well now!” is the person who will fall almost immediately. We cast out Satan and sin by Jesus drawing us into friendship with Himself, by being in humble reverence, thankful, in friendship, before Jesus, confident of His love for us, of His immediate care for us.
Jesus said that we cannot, will not enter the kingdom of heaven if we are not like little children before our heavenly Father. Little kids don’t count on themselves to be saved. They look with confidence to others, and in the cases above, to Jesus. Jesus saves us from Satan. Jesus leads us into a true life of prayer, to walk in His presence, even in the most trying of circumstances. Thank you Jesus.
O.K. My bad. I combined details from the Gospels of both Mark and Matthew in which event of the “Dog-Woman” is recounted. This is like a mortal sin for Scripture Scholars, but, hey, it’s just a daily homily by which we are in awe of Jesus and we are introduced to this amazing woman. Lots of Scripture Scholars deny her existence anyway, so, what do they care. They deny her because they are deathly afraid of her, lap-dogs that they are. And this is long for a weekday homily, but no one has complained so far. Usually, though, they are not this long. It’s just that this is one of my most absolute favorite women of the Gospels. She is just so pure of heart and agile of soul, such good friends with Jesus.
I didn’t mention this in the homily – I was really overtime already – but it needs to be said. The Apostles at the time would rather that her child continue to be sacrificed to Satan rather than it be delivered from Satan. And if, after listening to this homily and considering that fact, and if you tempted to cynicism against the successors of the Apostles, then also take in this fact: this most incredible wonderful woman did not ever hold the dark idiocy of the Apostles against themselves. She recognized and dealt with it in solidarity with Jesus who was trying to teach them a lesson through her, with her. She’s totally my absolute heroine. I say “Thank you” to her across the centuries, from earth to heaven, “Thank you!”
O.K. This is a long homily, I admit it. I’m passionate about the topic because, well, you’ll find out. I edited out one example, heh heh heh. My prerogative. Sorry. The picture is where some of this took place. Yikes!
In the Gospel today, in the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel, we see the whole town gathered around Jesus as he cures their illnesses and exorcises demons. That seems nice. Jesus is popular. He shrugs this off. This is not His purpose. But we’re amazed at His enthusiasm.
Preaching about this today, I spoke of His purpose in establishing the Kingdom of God by disestablishing the kingdom of Satan. But it’s not just about exorcism. You have to know that exorcism infuriates Satan and his minions. Jesus is targeted now by Satan like never before. Jesus is baiting Satan to do this. After Judas is possessed at the Last Supper, it will all end with all of hell broken out against Jesus on Calvary. Satan was baited by Jesus to do just this. Now Jesus stands in our place, the innocent for the guilty, taking the brunt of everything Satan has and, in this way, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. And then Jesus rises from the dead to bring us to life. Hah!
You would think that Satan, so very extremely intelligent, would not allow himself to be baited by Jesus. But there it is. Baited. However intelligent, Satan has no wisdom. So he continuously frustrates himself. His punishment in Genesis is not that he crawls on his belly, but rather, literally, with all due historical philology, he writhes along on his writhingness. This is the very image of being frustrated. Intellectual frustration on a spiritual level is the worst suffering there can be.
Maybe I’ve fixed the audio so that it’s a little louder / clearer…
There’s those who need exorcism and then again, those who really need exorcism.
On the top of the obelisk in Saint Peter’s Square (the obelisk which had in fact marked the spot where Peter himself was crucified), one will find a cross. The cross is placed there to demonstrate that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has conquered the pagan Pelagianesque Promethean idiocy of Satan and his followers. Jesus, having been killed in the battle even as He broke the power of Satan, is now the last one standing, bearing the wounds of slaughter upon Himself, but standing, risen from the dead, as John sees Him in his vision reported in the Apocalypse.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah looks ever so much like Satan, who, like a lion, is ever on the prowl for the destruction of souls. The bronze serpent held up by Moses looked ever so much like the saraph serpents that were killing the children of Israel in the desert. Jesus looks ever so much like the guilty sons of Adam as He hangs on the cross.
But I’ll tell you this, the smirk I see on the face of Jesus below is the same smirk I see in the picture of the lion above. Jesus means to make us conquer with Him. He’ll bring us through it. He sees what “it” is. We don’t. Thank goodness. We just have to look to Him, follow Him as we shoulder that cross without looking at it. I mean, look at that smirk:
We can ask Jesus to get over ourselves, that we not take ourselves and our weakness and darkness and temptation and feeling a million miles away and left behind so seriously. Jesus takes us seriously. He wants us to take HIM seriously. Take up that cross, He commands us, but… but… BUT… Come follow me! He commands us. It’s about Jesus, not about us whimpering about ourselves. When we stop being preoccupied with what we think of ourselves we might just see Him working in our souls; we might just begin to have the joy of the Holy Spirit in seeing that Jesus’ love is stronger than our weakness, stronger that our temptations, stronger than our thinking we’re a million miles away and left behind, stronger than death. All that rubbish is what He came to save us from, which we brought on ourselves in original sin and whatever else we might have done. He forgives. Really, He does. He loves us.
No more mind games of Satan! Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah has conquered!
O.K., O.K., I’ll have to start putting up my exorcism series once again…
P.S. I recorded my homily yesterday, but didn’t put it up because, alas, I didn’t actually record it: I’ll have to get to know the recorder a bit better to use it with ease! Maybe today I’ll be able to do it. It makes me try to be better. That’s a good thing I’m sure.
P.S. Oh! Did Saint Helen actually find the Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Yes, she did. I did some pretty heavy research and investigation when I lived in Jerusalem. Beyond a shadow of any doubt, yes, she found it, and we have it. Maybe I’ll be able to write on that later today.
Sometimes people think that the fires of hell mean real fire (only), because they are afraid of WHO that fire actually is, namely, God, that is, God’s love. Yes, in hell. It’s not universal salvationistic to say that God loves all regardless of whether or not they love him, regardless of whether they are in heaven or in hell or here upon this earth for that matter. The difference involves the reception of that love or not:
But it’s all God’s love. I’m sure there are those who just won’t get this, and who will insist that I’m not a priest anyway for the fact of being Pope Francis’ Missionary of Mercy, and will stomp their feet while shouting that I’m a heretic for saying that God’s love is in hell and that that’s what makes hell hell for those in hell. But, hey, I can only say what is right. Irony is scary. And somehow, I can’t apologize for that. Maybe I’m evil. Hilaire Belloc might say so. I haven’t put this up for a little while, so, here it goes up again (I think I should memorize this; it would do anyone good to memorize it):
To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for […] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. […] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. […] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power […] when the mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. […] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul. [Hilaire Belloc, “On Irony” (pages 124-127; Penguin books 1325. Selected Essays (2/6), edited by J.B. Morton; Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958).]