Sarah was fully possessed. As a young woman, she had given herself to Satan. In subsequent years, she had become sullen, hopeless, and suicidal. While she wanted to be freed, Satan frequently reminded her that she had given herself to him. They had a contract. He regularly tempted her to suicide.
Eventually, she found her way to a knowledgeable Catholic priest. He told her that the death and resurrection of Jesus cancels her contract with Satan. He urged her to trust in Jesus, practice the faith, and see the Exorcist. She is now going through a protracted exorcism; those who voluntarily give themselves to Satan typically take longer to be freed. They are the ones whom Satan is especially loathe to give up.
A powerful moment in the Rite of Exorcism is the litany of the titles of Satan. They are a series of damning (literally) list of accusations describing the Evil One and the fruits of sin. They include such appellations as: inimice fidei (enemy of the faith), hostis generis humani (foe of the human race), vitae raptor (robber of life), auctor incestus (author of incest), justitiae declinator (corruptor of justice), malorum radix (root of evil), causa discordiae (cause of discord), excitator dolorum (excitor of pain and sorrow), pater mendacii (father of lies) and many more. Lucifer hates it and each one hits him like a sledge hammer.
Not only is the recitation of the litany of his evil titles spiritually effective, the demons’ reaction to the names is often diagnostic. In the midst of Sarah’s exorcism, I began praying the list, clearly enunciating and firmly emphasizing each name. When I got to the title: mortis adductor, they reacted strongly. I had hit a button. So, I stopped and for several minutes repeated: Mortis Adductor, Bringer of Death; Mortis Adductor, Bringer of Death; Mortis Adductor, Bringer of Death. The demons began to writhe and thrash wildly.
Satan and sin brought death into our world. He urgently wants to do so with Sarah. I had Sarah do her best to renounce the Demons of Death. I said to her, “Repeat after me: ‘I renounce the Demons of Death. I reject them, I rebuke them, I renounce them, and in Jesus’ name, I cast them out.'” She struggled to comply, but eventually was able to say it. It was an exhausting session for both of us, but very fruitful.
Satan is the bringer of death. Everything about hell reeks of death. There is no water; it is black, barren, and lifeless. We see the presence of Satan in many death-dealing actions in our world today. The Satanic Temple announced that it would open a free abortion clinic in New Mexico. Perhaps it would be good for all of us to renounce the Demons of Death. Jesus has broken Satan’s hold on this world and on our lives. We affirm that in Jesus we find true life (Jn 14:6).