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July 18th, 2013

The Importance Of Spiritual Food

The Importance Of Spiritual Food

Napoleon Bonaparte had conquered almost all of Europe with his might. No one could resist his leadership and war technique. He showed his strength in Spain, Prussia and Austria. Soon, the desire to conquer Russia was musing in his mind.

He moved to Russia with a large army. Knowing the advance of Napoleon, the Russian people destroyed all their fields and crops. Taking the cows with them they moved to the interior parts of the village abandoning their houses.

The French army could find only the burnt out fields and empty villages at their arrival in Russia. They were in trouble. They had nothing to eat. As the Russians destroyed all the crops and took with them all the animals, the French army didn’t have anything for their survival. Lakhs of soldiers starved to death. Even then Napoleon led the army ahead. Reaching Moscow, the capital city, they had the terrible sight of the city burnt into ashes. People had retreated to the interiors.

Soon winter started and the French army was in dismay. They suffered a lot in the new land. At last Napoleon was forced to call back his army. An estimated 5 lakhs soldiers died in between. Only one sixth of Napoleon’s army survived on their return.

At this juncture the enemies attacked Napoleon and his worn out army. On March 30, 1814, the French army was defeated. Napoleon was dethroned and deported to Elba Island, in the Mediterranean Sea.

The highly keen war technique of the Russian people made Napoleon’s army fragile and caused their defeat. Out of fear the Russian army took shelter in the interior villages during the initial stages of the war. But they made it sure that the enemies reaching their land would not get anything to survive. As they didn’t get food, diseases were on the rise. They couldn’t resist the heavy weather and the adverse situations.

Satan puts traps

Similarly Satan puts traps for those who are strong in their faith. He knows that he will taste defeat at a face to face encounter. So he hides and blocks the food and water which sustain the individual.

As we loose our zeal for the Holy Eucharist, the Word of God and prayer, we will feel a terrible scarcity of spiritual food. Reluctance to repent and aversion to sacraments will make us weak and morally powerless. Knowing that we are fragile, he will start his direct fight against us. Therefore we should never ignore the importance of spiritual food, however great and strong we may be.

Sin will tear down our confidence. Like our forefathers, sin will take away the courage to face real life situations. It is the white robe of holiness that make us strong in our fight against the enemy. Therefore never ignore the spiritual food.

Prayer: Lord, help us that we may not ignore the spiritual food that you prepare for us through the Church. Strengthen us so that we may be ready to fight the enemy by approaching the sacraments seriously. Amen.

– – – written by  Benny Punnathara

December 6th, 2012

Demons And Exorcisms

Demons and Exorcisms

Generally the demon does all he can not to be discovered. He does not like to talk and tries everything to discourage both the exorcist and the possessed. Experience has taught me that this behavior follows four steps: prior to discovery, during exorcisms, at the beginning of liberation, and after liberation.

I must caution that there are never two identical instances. The behavior of the evil one is most unpredictable and takes many different forms. What I am about to describe refers to the most frequently encountered behavior.

1. Prior to discovery

Demonic possession causes physical and mental disturbances. Therefore the possessed is usually under a doctor’s care, and nobody suspects the true nature of the problems. Often doctors try to cure the symptoms for a lengthy period and try many drugs, always with very limited results. Commonly, the patient goes from doctor to doctor, accusing them of incompetence. Mental symptoms are the hardest to cure; many times the specialists find nothing wrong-although this also happens often with physical illness-and often the family accuses the possessed individual of imagining his problems.

This is one of the heaviest crosses to bear for these “patients”; they are neither understood nor believed. Almost always, after fruitlessly searching for help from “official medicine”, these individuals knock at the door of “healers” or, worse, sorcerers, seers, and witch doctors. In this manner, the problems increases.

Normally, anyone who comes to the exorcist (following a friend’s suggestion; very rarely a priest’s advice!) has already knocked at every doctor’s door and is thoroughly skeptical; many times he has tried sorcerers and warlocks. Often an inexcusable lack of ecclesiastical care in this field is added to the lack of faith or the lack of practice in the faith of these individuals; the result is an understandable delay in turning to the exorcist.

We must remember that even in the cases of complete possession-that is, in cases when the demon is the one talking and acting, using the victim’s body-the demon does not act consistently. He alternates periods of actively (usually called “moments of crisis “) with unpredictable periods of rest. In this manner, with few exceptions, the person is able to function and hold a job or go to school in a seemingly normal manner. The person alone knows the tremendous effort that the performance of these tasks requires.

2. During Exorcisms

At the beginning the demon tries his best to remain undetected or at least to hide the seriousness of his possession, even if he is not always successful. At times he is forced by the strength of the exorcism to reveal his presence at the first prayers; other times more sessions are required before he is discovered.

I remember a young man who, at the first blessing, gave only a mild negative reaction. I thought, “this is an easy one; I will be done after this blessing and a few more.” The second time, though, he became furious, and after that I could not begin an exorcism unless four strong men were present to subdue him.

Waiting for the hour of God

On other occasions, one must wait for the “hour of God”. I clearly remember one person who had consulted several exorcists, including myself, without any indication of an evil presence. Finally, one time the demon was forced to reveal himself, and after that the exorcisms proceeded fruitfully. Sometimes, from the first or second blessing the demon reveals all his strength, which changes from person to person. At times the revelation is progressive; some possessed appear to have a different sickness at each session, giving the impression that every ill in the body must be brought out one at a time in order to be healed.

How Demons react to Exorcisms

The demon reacts in various manners to prayers and injunctions. Many times he tries to appear indifferent; in reality he suffers and continues to suffer increasingly until liberation is achieved. Some possessed individuals are silent and immobile, and, if provoked, any reaction is limited to the eyes. Others fling themselves about, and unless they are held down, they harm themselves. Others wail, especially if a stole is pressed to the affected parts of their bodies, as the Ritual suggests, or if they are blessed with the Sign of the Cross or with holy water. Very few are violent, and these must be held tightly by those who are helping the exorcist or by their relatives.

Demons are very reluctant to speak. The Ritual, very rightly, admonishes the exorcist not to ask questions out of curiosity, but to ask only what is useful for liberation. The first thing that must be asked is the name. For the demon, who is so reluctant to reveal himself, revealing himself is a defeat; even when he has revealed his name, he is always reluctant to repeat it, even during following exorcisms. Then we command the evil one to tell how many demons are present in a particular body. There can be many or few, but there is always one chief, and he is always the first to be named.

When the demon has a biblical name or one given in tradition (for example, Satan, Beelzebul, Lucifer, Zebulun, Meridian, Asmodeus), we are dealing with “heavy weights”, tougher to defeat. The degree of difficulty is also relative to the intensity with which the demon possesses a person. When several demons are present, the chief is always the last to leave.

The strength of possession is manifested also from the reaction of the demon to holy names. Generally the evil one does not and cannot say those names; he substitutes expressions such as “he” (referring to God or Jesus) or “she” (referring to our Lady). Other times he says’ “your Boss” or “your Lady”, to indicate Jesus or Mary. If the possession is very strong and the demon is high-ranking (I repeat that demons keep the rank that they held when they were angels, such as thrones, principalities, or dominions), then it is possible for him to say the name of God and Mary, always followed by horrible blasphemies.

Some believe, I know not why, that demons are talkative and that, if they are present during an exorcism, the demon will publicly denounce all their sins. It is a false belief; demons are reluctant to speak, and when they talk they say silly things to distract the exorcist and escape his questions.

Father Candido’s experience

Father Candido was exorcising a handsome young man who was possessed by a great beast of a demon. Trying to discourage the exorcist, the demon said: “Can’t you see that you are wasting your time? This one never prays. He goes around with… and does…” and there followed a long list of ugly sins. At the end of the exorcism, Father Candido fruitlessly tried to convince that young man to make a general confession. It was necessary almost to drag him into the confessional, where he hastened to say that he had no sins to confess. Then Father Candido asked, “But did you not do this and such?” Dumbfounded, the poor man was forced to admit his transgressions.

The Ritual suggests asking other questions dealing with the length of time of possession, the motive, and similar topics. I will mention later how we must behave in case of spells and what questions to ask. Let us not forget that the demon is the prince of lies. He freely accuses one person or another to foster suspicion and enmity; his answers must be sifted carefully.

I will say generally questioning the demons is not of great importance. For instance, often when the demon sees he is losing strength, he gives one date as the day of his departure but then lingers on. An experienced exorcist such as Father Candido was often able to guess not only what kind of demon he was dealing with but also often even his name; therefore he did not ask too many questions.

In cases of strong possessions the demon might speak voluntarily to discourage the exorcist. Many times I was told, “You cannot do anything against me!” “I will throw you out of bed.” Then, confronted with my answers, he would fall silent. For instance, when I say, “I am enveloped within the mantle of our Lady. What can you do to me?” or “The Archangel Gabriel is my protector; try and fight him!” or “My guardian angel watches over me so that I won’t be touched; you cannot harm me”, the demon remains silent.

– – – Taken from ‘An Exorcist tells his story’ written by Fr. Gabriele Amorth 

August 2nd, 2012

Satan Lives In Our Sins

Satan Lives In Our Sins

Sin is the root cause of all evils in human life. Even those that aimed at our sanctification points to the fact that we are imperfect. Heaven does not have suffering, for those who are there are perfect. Earthly life cannot be free from pains, as we ourselves are sinful and we live among the sinners. The shortcut to be free from suffering, is to be free from sin.

Apart from sin, any pain is bearable for the soul of a human being. Sin is contrary to the nature of our soul. So, the sins we do, willingly or unwillingly, choke the soul. If the soul is free from stains, then no amount of worldly pain can disturb its peace. That’s what we see in the suffering of Jesus, Mary and the saints. Our nature is hesitant to pain and suffering because we cherish the love for an easy life. Saints invited more and more sufferings into their life, because each and every moment they knew they are imperfect. And their conviction was that it is suffering that purifies them.

Sin Attracts Satan

Sin attracts Satan as a magnet attracts iron. It is in our sinful habits and inclinations that Satan puts his hand to disturb us. Like fish in the water Satan lives in our sins. So the easy way to put him out is to put out our sins.

One man was on his journey to conversion. He was a drunkard and happened to attend a retreat. After the retreat he thought of quitting the shabby world of drinking and live a holy life. But once it happened that he again failed and had his day at the bar. Approaching his spiritual director, he said; ‘Father, I was not willing to go to the bar. But Satan tempted me.’ Father corrected him; my dear child, do not succumb to his temptations each time he calls. Yes, father, I am well aware of that. But when he calls, if we refuse his call, it may happen that he may not call us again!

Yes, this is somewhat our problem. We enjoy the pleasure of sinning and like that Satan makes us fail. How many times we would have been dead, if we had made our act of contrition sincerely. There we say, we are ready to die than to sin. We sin again, and not die when temptations occur.

The Two Traps of Satan

When we face problems in our life, Satan brings two traps. They are concerned with adjusting our sight. Too close to our eyes we can’t see properly. For example a speck in our eyes, however close, is not visible. So is the case with an object too far. Likewise, Satan will make us over conscious of the problems so as to give them seriousness as they do not deserve it. Sometimes he will set our problems too far, as not make us aware of the true seriousness of our problems. It is important to adjust our sight with regard to the problems we face to live a happy life. Every problem in our life is not from Satan, but those that bring evil fruits are from him. It is important to know the tree from its fruit.

Read more at Body and Satan

Each time we fall, Satan laughs. When we wake up through a confession, he may come again with more strength. I would like to say that some people fall again because of their over zeal. This is right. Suppose we had been sick for many days and recovered through medicine. Right away if we go to work heavily, wouldn’t we get sick again, sometimes worse than before. So the doctors suggest that the patients recovered from illness should not go for hard work. They suggest us to recover our health first. This is important in our spiritual life too.

Suppose we fall into sin, when we recover, give more importance to getting back our strength through prayer and frequenting sacraments. After that, focus on our ministries and work fields.

Read about how to kill Satan

– – – written by Jinto Mathew

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