Insights from Exorcists
Face-to-face encounters with the devil are all in a day’s work for an exorcist; followed by dinner, prayers, and a good night’s sleep. They walk amid evil on angels’ wings with unwavering confidence in the power of God.
A few years ago, I was invited to the movie junket for The Rite, a story about the training of an exorcist. I considered backing out after watching the movie trailer. Films that include post-traumatic stress are not my cup of tea. But after interviewing several exorcists to do a preliminary article, my fears were calmed. I still don’t like exorcism movies, but I’m no longer afraid to walk into my basement afterwards. Since that junket, I have occasionally done articles on exorcism and deliverance. Through talking with exorcists, their secret for faith-filled living has eclipsed my previous fear of evil.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Exorcists:
- When I walk into a room to do an exorcism, the devil doesn’t see me, he sees Jesus Christ.
- I am not an exorcist; I am a priest who does exorcisms. My major power is in my priesthood.
- Confession is more powerful than an exorcism. One is a sacrament and the other is a blessing. One confession is worth 100 exorcisms.
- The devil wants to destroy the soul, and the soul is healed by confession. If people want to decrease the work of Satan, they should increase the use of confession.
- Once the confessional line gets thin, the activity of Satan increases. To decrease the work of Satan, increase the use of confession.
- The power of Satan increases when people don’t believe he is real. God is “I am, who am,” but the devil wants to be “I am who is not.”
- It is better to protect yourself from evil than to try and rid yourself from it. Stay away from the occult, pray, and frequent the sacraments.
- It’s really the Lord’s fight. I was going against a satanic ritual abuse and a mentor told me to just look to the Father. “Trust the Father and you don’t have to do anything,” he said.
- Sometimes deliverance [from evil] can happen instantaneously or it can take awhile. It is a deliberate decision to develop healthy relationships, come to reconciliation, and grow with the Lord.
- We are called to help people help themselves. I will pray over people and tell them: now you have to say and do things differently than your nature says. It is human nature to fall back into old habits. People need to turn to God and pray for grace. Then they need to be ready to accept those graces and strive to make good choices.
- Renounce the occult or the evil. I can pray over someone but if she is still in tune with the occult, it’s still going to influence her. She has to break that relationship by her own choice.
- Fearlessness is a grace. If I let fear bother me, I can’t do this.
- A woman came to me worried about her son and the influence of evil in her home. I told her that she and her husband could take authority over their home. In situations like this declare your authority in prayer–you are in charge of your home. She did that and the problems went away.
- There was a spirit visiting someone’s son. Kids see these as angels or lost souls. You can often get into trouble if you explore this. Don’t offer to help or ask who they are. Let the Lord take care of it and just pray for them.
- Stay away from the psychic world. Don’t try to communicate with ghosts or try to help them.
- Retaliation is good because it means you are doing the right thing. Take away the drama. It’s not the worst thing in your life. Evil spirits don’t like being kicked out but the Lord has something to say about it. It’s not drama but a response to God’s love.
- It’s not our battle; it’s the Lord’s battle.
- Jesus Christ is ultimately the one who will give freedom to people.
- I will help people of other faiths, but if someone has no connection to religion, I will not help them. There would be no purpose to do an exorcism if the people aren’t acceptable to growing in faith. Their situation could become even worse. It says in Matthew 12:45, “Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.”
- Possessions are rare. I’ve only seen two in over forty years, but between possession and temptation, the devil can also oppress and obsess. Those are situations where the devil is able to harass people.
- A Ouija board is associated with occult activities, and this can be a way that people open up a doorway to evil. People should stay away from anything occult. They might think they can control it but they can’t. We need not fear it, but we should make a point to stay away from it.
- If someone does not have a prayer life and a relationship with God, then exorcising him or her could be like a revolving door. A person’s behavior is what allows a demon to enter. It’s easy for demons to enter people who open themselves up through the occult.
- We are living in a very dark world, but we need not fear because prayer drives out evil and protects us. Prayer and a relationship with God protect us from evil.
- People forget that it is not a fight between two equal powers. God is the Creator and he created the devil. God will be the victor. Jesus is God, and through the power of Jesus, the devil is vanquished.
Art for this post on insights from exorcists: Detail of Palazzo Schifanoia, Salone dei messi, 04 aprile (f.del cossa) toro 03 2, Sailko, 30 September 2013 own work (photography), CC-SA; Healing of the Demon-Possessed, artist unknown, Medieval Age, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less; Parental Joy, Karl (Kirill) Lemoh (1841-1910), undated, PD-US; Saint James the Greater, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1661, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; all Wikimedia Commons.