Jesus tempted in the wilderness by James Tissot
He (Satan) is the malign clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination, and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities, so that he can bring us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical and mental makeup, or to our profound instinctive aspirations. Pope Paul VI General Audience, November 15, 1972
Deliverance can sound like a scary word to some people. I am not sure why because we pray for it in the Our Father. As you all know I have been taking classes about all this.
Deliver us from evil.
Do we truly mean that when we pray it?
Or the old way of saying it, Deliver us from the evil one.
When a person recognizes their own sin, it brings them to a state of remorse, and often times they feel so ashamed and unworthy. They see their own soul and they need the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness of them. This is what Confession is for. They receive the sacramental grace from God to know they are forgiven and loved. And the process of conversion and change begins to take hold. We can rest knowing, that even in our weakness, we are loved. This requires the Priest, who is in persona Christi capitis, and therefore has the authority to do this;
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18
But even with this immense grace and assurance of forgiveness and love, even with the Eucharist, spiritual direction, adoration, and confession, some people still struggle with repetitive sin. Some things are so deeply ingrained that we don’t even know we’re doing them. We don’t recognize the demons speaking to us.
Because we have not fully picked up our cross and followed him. Most of us hold onto some kind of unforgiveness that is deeply rooted and we don’t even recognize it. It can be passed through our family or from our personal sin.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26
Demons speak to us and state, “He hurt you, that man that caused you trauma, you don’t have to love him, seek revenge.”
And we listen to him and our soul speaks, “Crucify Him.”
The demon, who came to kill steal and destroy, speaks, “You can never be a mother, you must abort your child.”
And we listen and our souls speaks, “Crucify Him.”
The demon speaks and says, “You will never be good enough. You are not loved.”
And we listen to the accuser and we can’t forgive ourselves and our soul speaks, “Crucify Him.”
This voice of the accuser that condemns you is especially insidious when the lie that you are not loved takes hold, because in between the place where God forgives you, but you don’t forgive yourself, lies anxiety and depression. Your lack of forgiveness of yourself is a defiance of God’s forgiveness of you. You are playing God. Do you see how astronomical anxiety and depression have become in our society?
And we don’t even know who we are listening to.
It’s important to note, we are not possessed, but we are listening to the lies.
Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Luke 23:24
Our soul, our spirit is the deepest core of who we are. When it is wounded it can be hard to forgive. We can spend years in counseling addressing our emotions, but until we fully pick up our cross when we forgive others like Jesus did, we will most likely remain stuck in these repetitive behaviors because we have not let the Great Physician address our wounded spirit. When we forgive the trauma others have caused us we are embracing the Cross of Christ.
Deliverance goes beyond Confession because deliverance goes beyond our own recognition of God’s love and forgiveness of us and teaches us to love like God. It’s that cooperation with Him and letting Him live in us. They both are a receiving of what God wants to give, but in deliverance we begin that full cooperation, that full embracing of the cross, taking on the sin of others and giving it back to God. I would venture to say, most people need deliverance. Most people have listened to the accuser for years and internalized what he has spoken. Deliverance requires the person, as an ACT OF THEIR OWN WILL, despite how they feel, to cooperate fully with God, lay down their life of unforgiveness they have lived, and place themselves on the cross, which is truly letting go and saying that all debts are forgiven, no one owes me anything, because I have the love of God. It enables us to put our holy hatred on the devil and love the people and see them as God does. We can see the difference between the demons speaking to people and the people themselves, and we can actively have enmity with the demons, not the people. It changes the core of who we are and how we love.
When someone is fully possessed a Priest is needed because this person has given permission to the devil to possess them. They are in complete violation of covenant. A Priest, as a Consecrated Man, is bound to the Creed of the Church through the laying on of hands given through Apostolic succession. Only the Catholic Church has this, that’s why in cases of extreme possession people call the Catholic Church. We have the Apostolic Authority. This Authority is needed to break the oath a person has made with the devil. The person must consent to this as well, but the full force of the Authority of the church is needed. This is why lay people cannot do exorcism, we do not have the authority. The Priest has the authority to speak in Jesus’ name because he is In Persona Christi capitis.
Because of the Authority of the Priest he can also expel demons from places, like happened here. If each Priest stepped into their role of Authority granted him by the church through the Bishops, we would see a vastly different landscape.
The importance of the Sacraments in all of this process cannot be understated. Demons are legalists and they are bound to God’s laws, just as we all are, no matter if we believe in God or not. The Sacraments unite us to God’s Grace. They strengthen us with the power of God and restore our union when we have fallen away. Participating in the Sacramental Life is if utmost importance to our wellbeing.
The demons are often called “unclean” (Mark 1:23.) and so they are often found in “waterless” places. The living water of Jesus is no place for them because it is through this living water that we are washed clean, we are made new, and we are reunited with our Savior through His Holy Spirit. Just as John baptized with water, he tells us one who baptizes with water and the spirit is coming. (Matthew 3:11)
In the story of the Gerasene demoniac, Jesus casts the demons into the pigs, but to the demons’ demise, they get driven into the water. Deliverance is purification. It is driving the demons into the water, never to return again.
When we fully put on our Baptismal vows, which requires a Sacramental life, and embracing forgiveness like Christ did, it invokes true freedom because we are asserting the authority, the domain God gave to us that had been stolen by the serpent. It does not require someone else screaming over us in the name of Jesus. It requires us, in the name of Jesus, receiving the authority he gave us. A person who lives here has embraced the Kingdom. They can “be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect” Matthew 5:48 – and sell all to the poor because it is total recognition, acceptance of and cooperation with the King of Kings.
The Saints recognized this. They were living in the will of God. God wills that you walk in union with Him and that you receive what was rightfully given to you by Him. This kind of unity is sorely missing in the world today. Unforgiveness and hatred is everywhere. The devil is wreaking havoc. Don’t let him. Let the Living Water, transform you. It is imperative in these perilous times we live in that we become living Sanctuaries of God. This is what is needed to combat the division and hatred in the world. It’s an embracing of the truth of the cross. What is true is that each and everyone of us is a Beloved Child of God who can be lifted out of sin, can love as were were commanded, and we can become Saints. Check to see if your Diocese or parish has a sanctioned Deliverance Team to help you with this process because even though you are receiving the authority God gave you, it is importance to recognize the authority of the Church to help you through this.