Hello, people! Thanks for all the enthusiastic support and interest over my How I Made Friends With the Devil trilopost. Now that it’s done, I think it’s only fair to address some of the excellent questions and comments I have received.
Many of you asked me for more clarification regarding the technical aspects of diabolic behavior, mainly because you were trying to assess the possibility of demonic activity in your own lives. For most of that kind of information I shall humbly defer to the expertise of pros like Fr. Euteneuer, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, or Malachi Martin.
It does probably need to be stated here that I was not possessed–certainly not in the way that, for instance, Regan in The Exorcist was. Most of you are probably aware that there are at least four different categories of diabolic activity, full possession being the worst. The next step down from there is called ‘oppression,’ the common features of which most closely describe my own experiences, I think. However, possession can be partial, and there was definitely some of that towards the end of the process in Father C.’s office that day.
The thing is, don’t make the mistake of thinking: “Well, I’m not tied to my bedposts in my room howling like a wolf and spewing profanity in strange, foreign languages. I get up and go to work like everybody else, and I love Jesus. I’m fine, right?” Or not. As Tom Hoopes once wrote: “…the truth is, the victims of demonic activity don’t live in carnival haunted houses. They exist at the edges of a malaise. They’re anxious or depressed, disoriented in their spiritual lives or slowly losing their minds—always wondering if the thoughts filling their heads are really their own.”
This leads to the next question: What should you do if any of this sounds uncomfortably familiar? Like I’ve pointed out in my email discussions with some of you, I am not an expert. The advice I have to give is primarily that of a brother in Christ, and therefore simple.
1. First and foremost: pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.
2. Find a priest. This is potentially the most challenging step, because not every priest is up for this, sorry to say. I was blessed to have a real Ghostbuster living near me, but not everybody has access to someone like that.
Now, look: the priests our Lord sends us deserve our utmost respect, by virtue of the fact that they carry with them His authority. I am not advocating factionalism or rebelliousness here. Respect your priest, no matter who he is! I’ll leave it up to the Holy Spirit and to your own good judgment to find the right priest for the job, but there are two kinds of priests you probably might as well avoid so that you don’t waste your valuable time:
Father Regional Manager. He’s traditional, but he unconsciously subscribes to the theory that the parish is primarily a business institution that needs a steady hand and good common sense to keep it all running smoothly. He’s not opposed to talking about the reality of Satan, but you may have a hard time getting him to commit to anything more in-depth in between all the parish council meetings and youth group awards dinners on his calendar.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that the above priests are bad guys. But probably neither type will be your go-to guy for all your Ghostbusting needs, you know what I’m saying?
3. Prepare yourself. As I told someone recently, when you do finally locate a priest you think will be sympathetic, don’t go into his office sounding like some superstitious peasant who thinks a witch cursed your crops. Be able to speak calmly and rationally about the subject. Have specific evidence in mind. When it’s time, request some level of spiritual purification, and keep in mind that it is your RIGHT to have these concerns seriously considered!
I am not trying to drum up hysteria. At the same time, I don’t think mine is a unique case. Occult activity is pervasive; we’re all choking on the smoke of Satan. We are in some ways quite similar to 1st century Palestine, filled from one corner of the country to the other with lost, wandering folk oppressed by evil spirits–the big difference being that 1st century Palestinians had the good sense to say “Oh, that guy wandering around in the graveyard who screams at people? Yeah, he’s possessed by devils.”
So, if you really think there’s a problem, do something about it. Don’t be afraid. Yes, I know: it could simply be related to a poor diet; it could be hormones; maybe you’re a hypochondriac. Maybe. Or maybe not. Either way, don’t let the matter just sit; that’s my advice. God bless!