Accueil I.A.D.

I - Why deliverance?

Prayer for deliverance

Br. Paul-Marie de M.

      God does not always remove evil and, from evil, He can draw good. The prayer of deliverance is to be placed under the government of God in regard to the evil weighing upon mankind. With each prayer of the "Our Father" (1), the Christian asks to be delivered from evil. But the prayer of deliverance takes on other forms, namely that of the imperative prayer such as the exorcism or a prayer of supplication that accompanies a suffering person. One discerns the prayer that is to be used in relation to the evil from which one must be delivered and in cooperation with the government of God.

      The prayer of deliverance includes first of all the "Our Father" taught by Jesus, and then those that he teaches in practicing exorcisms (2), numerous (3) healings of all kinds, as well as those he teaches us through the Church's explication of them in the sacraments that Christ instituted, especially the sacrament of penitence. Last of all those that the Church has highlighted in certain prayers called prayers of deliverance. If the most well known and the most frequent prayers of the faithful are the Lord's Prayer and the sacraments, the most hidden and rarest is exorcism. The most recent and still developing one is the prayer practiced by certain prayer groups, especially in the charismatic renewal, called the prayer of deliverance or liberation.

      It is evident that these different prayers do not have the same immediate aim, but they have the same final end, namely sanctity. However as evil and the possible influence of the devil lead to specific alienations the request for deliverance is made with regard to this specificity (4).

This is also why the prayer of the "Our Father", that asks for the liberation from evil, encompasses all the others and directs them all towards their end. It is in the light of this prayer that all the other prayers of deliverance must be seen and prayed. We cannot examine all these prayers, but we will seek the spirit of them by looking at the request of the "Our Father". Then in this light we will examine the prayer of exorcism, and finally the prayer named "of deliverance".

Notes: 1 - Lk 11, 2-4 and Mt 6, 9-13. Mention of the deliverance from evil is found only « ...but deliver us from evil.
2 - Five exorcisms by Jesus can be counted in the synoptics : MT 8, 28-34 (and by : Mk 5, 1-20 ; Lk 8, 26-38) ; Mt 9, 32-34 and 12, 22-24 (and by : Lk 11, 14) ; Mt 15, 21-28 (by Mk 7, 24-30) ; Mt 17, 14-20) (and by : Mk 9, 14-29 ; Lk 9, 37-42) ; Mk 1, 23-28 (and by : Lk 4, 33-36). The episode of the bent over woman in Lk 13, 10-17 is effectively a deliverance from the devil, but not an exorcism.
3 - No less than 34 times in the Gospels do we see the healings done by Jesus, some of them of course in cross-reference.
4 - SAINT THOMAS OF AQUINAS, Le Pater et l'Ave, Paris, Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1967, n° 88 : « This request is general. According to saint Augustine, it covers the different sorts of evils, namely sins, illnesses, afflictions". Let us recall that if the devil is the immediate and proximate cause of certain evils, he is the remote moral cause of all evil : SAINT THOMAS OF AQUINAS, Catena aurea, Mt 6, 13, tome I Rome. Marietti, 1953, chap. VI, n° 10 : "Here the name of evil designates the devil because of his extreme malice, a malice that originates in his will and not in his nature."

The Lord's prayer : "Deliver us from evil"

Delivered not liberated from everything, in this life...

      Saint Thomas of Aquinas interprets the expression "Deliver us from evil" without ever mentioning the suppression of evil. The deliverance from evil consists rather in bearing it, not only not suffering dramatic consequences at the level of supernatural life - that of losing one's bond with the Father of Heaven by the despair engendered by suffering -, but also because there is a benefit to be drawn from it. For the angelical doctor God delivers man from evil in four ways. The first way is by not afflicting him : for example, if God judges that he cannot withstand the trial (5). So it is not a question of doing away with evil, but of seeing to it that it doesn't appear, out of mercy. Secondly, God delivers man from evil by helping him to bear it through the gift of his consolations (6). The deliverance consists therefore in keeping evil from overcoming man making him incapable of bearing it any longer and being tempted for example by revolt. God's consolations lighten the pain of the affliction. Thirdly, God delivers man from evil by making him forget it through the granting of his blessings (7). Last of all, God delivers man from evil by drawing good from evil (8).

      This last way is the highest, as it directly finalizes the prayer of petition. Thus it is part of the highest gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of wisdom :

      God therefore delivers man from evil and tribulation, by changing tribulation and evil into good, which is the sign of the greatest wisdom for it is the proper of the wise to order evil to good. This is done by the patience we have during evil [...] And that is why the Holy Spirit has us ask for deliverance through the gift of wisdom : and through him we reach the beatitude of peace, since par patience we have peace in moments of prosperity or of adversity : and that is why the peace-makers are called sons of God, resembling God because nothing can hurt them like God, neither prosperity nor adversity (9).

Notes: 5 - SAINT THOMAS OF AQUINAS, Le Pater et l'Ave, Paris, Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1967, n° 89 : « Frist of all, God liberates man from affliction, by keeping it from him ».
6 - Ibid. n° 90 : « Deprived of these divine consolations, man would not be able to subsist in the midst of trials ».
7 - Ibid. n° 91 : « In the third place, God bestows so many blessings on the afflicted that they finally forget their ills ».
8 - Ibid. n° 92 : « In the forth place, God transforms temptations and tribulations into good. »
9 - Ibid. n° 92  and 93.

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The Cross, source of all liberation

      In the Lord's prayer the whole economy of the Cross is present in this ultimate way of being delivered from evil. The Cross is effectively the place of salvation, of the total liberation from evil (10). Christian grace gives the faithful the capacity to be united to the crucified Christ and to participate in his victory over evil which is not the suppression of all evil in this life (11), but obtains forgiveness for sins (12). The rest of evil is borne in this life, while being overcome by the love of the Father. Here is not the place to develop the mystery of the Cross, but it is certainly the great light on the liberation from all evil.

      The sapiential way of being delivered from evil is thus to be united to the crucified Jesus who communicates to us his own victory over evil, here-below over the evil of sin, and in the future life over the rest of evil (13). Yet, in his apostolic life, Jesus delivered a great number of people (14) from different evils, by doing away with them, without requiring that they endure them. One part of the deliverances consisted in ordering the devil to "leave" the possessed. Was this because they were unable to endure this evil, as affirmed by the theologian in the first part of the dominical prayer ? How should we understand Christ's prayers of exorcisms?

Notes: 10 - Heb 9, 22 : « Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness » and Jn 16, 11 : « And when he [the Paraclet] comes, he will convince the world [...] of judgment because the ruler of this world is judged.
11 - Rm 8, 17 : We are children of God [...] heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, since we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. »
12 - Rm 6, 11 : « So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. »
13 - Jn 3, 14-15 : « Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. »
14 - Mt 8, 16-17 : « When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were bought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken throught the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases."

The prayer of exorcism

      We accept in faith the acts of Christ who exorcises the possessed (15).The sapiential way of being set free from evil in the light of the Cross places us opposite the question of the reason for exorcism : what is the wisdom of God linked to this act? If, opposite evil, wisdom consists in bearing it in united to the Cross, why is there such gratuity in the acts of liberation of Christ? This will also place us in front of the question of discernment on a pastoral level : what is there to gain for the sheep of Christ? What should be done to help the Christian according to Christ's intention for him?

Notes: 15 - Let us note that saint John does not recount any of them, even when Satan enters Judas during the Last Supper. The only words of saint John concerning liberation is found in 8, 32 : "[...] the truth will set you free." For saint John the ultimate witness to the truth is the Cross : Jn 18, 37. Judas refuses the Cross and for this reason cannot be liberated nor delivered.

Why exorcism (16) ?

      The sign of the victory of Christ

      Jesus clearly affirms opposite the Jews, the reason behind this act : "But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. (17) In the same way, he recommends that the man of Gerasenes who was demon-possessed and wanted to follow Jesus after his deliverance, proclaim to his family how much the Lord had done for him in his mercy (18). It is therefore a mercy sign of something else (19), that is to say of a more inward liberation, from sin and its consequences, thanks to the coming of the kingdom of God. The first person to benefit from this sign is the demon-possessed himself, not only because he is delivered, but also because he wants to follow Christ. The Lord allows him to do this, not materially, but by becoming the witness to the arrival of the kingdom of God.

      This sign ordained to conversion is however not a charism - although there may exist a charism of deliverance -, because Jesus gave this ministry to his Apostles (20) within the compass of their priesthood. Jesus also gave it to the seventy-two for their mission (21). Yet, the history of the Church shows through the fathers of the desert that exorcism was operated by non clerical monks and even by laymen (22). This forces us to clarify the virtue of exorcism (23).

      This prayer of deliverance can be called sacramental (24) because the end of exorcism is to be an efficient sign of the coming of the kingdom of God, in the first place, for he who benefits from it, The effective command given to the demon with the authority of the name of Christ is for the person who benefits from it the sign of the victory of Jesus. The adhesion to this victory in faith is helped by the gift of this sign. The proper of the sacramental is to help the faith of the person who benefits from the sacramental to be more fervent thanks to the sign. The efficacy of the command is thus part of the sign. This is why the exorcism is close to the sacrament of the New Alliance in regard to its effectiveness, but it differs from it in as much as it does not give grace but only removes the obstacles. One might almost say that exorcism is a sacramental of hope. An efficient sign is given giving birth to desire again. Moreover, the deliverance from the devil is the uneffectual sign of the inner liberation from sin. In this perspective, exorcism is the sacramental ordained to the sacrament of penance.

Notes: 16 - About the question of exorcism, one can profit by reading Mac Antoine FONTELLE, Accueillir aujourd'hui l'exorcisme, Paris, Téqui, 1999, as well as the books of the International association for Deliverance (I.A.D.) : La délivrance et l'exorcisme (2001). La parière de délivrance et d'exorcisme. Face aux défins actuels du démon (2003), La prière délivrance et d'exorcisme. Le discernement (2005), La prière de délivrance et d'exorcisme. La sorcellerie en Afrique (2006), edited at Saint-Benoît-du-Sault, Ed. Bénédictines; also see by Father René CHENESSEAU, Journal d'un prêtre exorciste, Saint-Benoît-du-Sault, Ed. Bénédictines, 2007.
17 - Lk 11, 20.
18 - Mk 5, 19.
19 - SAINT THOMAS D'AQUINAS, Somma theologica (ST) II, q. 72, a. 3 : But the rites of exorcism remove the twofold impediment against the reception of saving grace. Of these, one is the outward impediment : it is the demon who strives to hinder man's salvation.[...] The other imediment is withing, forasmuch as, having contracted original sin, man's senses are closed to the reception of the mysteries of salvation
20 - Mt 10, 1 : « And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. »
21 - Lk 10, 19 : « Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy ; and nothing shall hurt you. » Jesus was answering the seventy-two who were rejoicing at having power over the demons in the name of Jesus.
22 - SAINT JUSTIN, Second Apology, VI, 5, 6 :There are in the universe and in our town a great number of demon-possessed persons that the other exorcists, enchanters, magicians have been unable to heal, and that a number of us Christians, by exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ crucified under Pontius Pilate, healed and do so even now, reducing the powers, expelling the demons that possess men."
23 - ST, III, q. 71, a. 3 : « Some say that the things done in the exorcism have not effect, but are mere signes. But this is clearly false ; since in exorcising, the Church uses words of command to cast out the devil's power. »
24 - It is thus that canon law « classifies » exorcism, cf. canon 1172. See also ST, III, q. 71, a 3, ad 2 : «It is essential to a sacrament to produce its principal effect, which is grace that remits sin, or supplies some defect in man. But those things that are done in the exorcism do not effect this, they merely remove these impediments. Consequently, they are not sacraments but sacramentals. »

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      An effectual sign

      Exorcism is a command that supposes an authority. This authority can be institutional or an occurrence. Christ as the Word become flesh has all authority (25):

      And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath ; and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon ; and he cried out with a loud voice, « Ah ! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth ? Have you come to destroy us ? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. » But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent, and come out of him!" [...] And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits and they come out (26)!"

      Jesus delegated this authority (27) to his apostles and to the seventy-two disciples. For a layman, the authority is that of the holiness of his royal priesthood that binds him to Christ and especially to the crucified Christ, victorious over all evil. The authority delegated is that of the institution and this is twofold because he has the authority both of the bishop and that of the priest. From this we can understand the distinction of the solemn exorcism reserved to the bishop and the priest that practices it in his name, and the simple one that any priest can pronounce. The difference between these two exorcisms is more in the authority that is in play than in the ritual used. A bishop who would say the simple exorcism, that of pope Leo XIII for instance (28), would be a solemn exorcism whereas as priest, not appointed by the bishop for this ministry, who would use the ritual of the solemn exorcism would only accomplish an simple exorcism. A layman, consequently, would only be able to pray a simple one.

      The usage of the Church concerning these questions changes because there is a prudence involved that adapts to the present-day conditions. This is why the simple exorcism promulgated by Leo XIII for the use of all Christians, has been removed from this use by Cardinal Ratzinger, while prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (29). The practice of this ministry is not without risks. We know what the author of the Acts of the Apostles says about the Jewish exorcists (30). The simple exorcism of Leo XIII having widely spread throughout the world, was used by people who, while hardly believers adopted the role of disenchanters or exorcists and who were treated in a way comparable to that of the Jewish exorcists. It was better to remove this prayer to avoid other accidents.

Notes: 25 - Jn 17, 2 : « Father, the hour has come ; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou has given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. »
26 - Lk 4, 31-36.
27 - See notes 19 and 20.
28 - This exorcism was published in 1922 in Paris with the imprimatur of Cardinal Dubois : « This prayer composed in order to put the demon to flight, can preserve the family and society from great evils if, in particular, it is recited with fervor, even by simple faithful. It should be used, especially in the cases where a manifestation of the action of the demon is supposed : either through the evilness of men, or through temptations, illnesses, tempests, calamities of all sorts.
29 - Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith : « Exorcisms and prayer meetings », 29 Sept. 1984 : « It follows also from these same prescriptions that Christ's faithful may not employ the formula of exorcism against Satan and the follen angels which is excerpted from that formula made official by order of the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII, and certainly may not use the entire text of that exorcism. Let all bishops take care to admonish the faithful about this matter whenever such instruction is required.
30 - Acts 19, 13-17 : « Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, « I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches. » [...] But the evil spirit answered them, « Jesus I know, and Paul I know ; but who are you ? » And the man in whom the evil spirit lived leaped upon them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. »

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What is deliverance?

I - Exorcism : discernment.

Introduction : The truth will set you free

      As we all know, theology draws its principles from Revelation and thus principally from the Scriptures. But concerning exorcism, there is a paradox that leaves us with questions. There is one question that I constantly have in mind when I read the Word of God on the subject of exorcism.

      You know, Jesus practiced exorcisms that the Synoptics relate to us. Saint John does not report a single one, that is the paradox of Jesus's friend who is interested in everything his friend does and who relates nothing on this subject, one that glorifies him however. On the other hand, he gives us this maxim which falls into the category of meaning and which appears at first to be a great revelation : "Truth will set you free". Indeed truth distinguishes falsehood and thus frees us from error that alienates the intelligence and the whole human person. But what relation does this liberation of the intelligence and of the human person, which is not generally specific of an attack by Satan, entertain with exorcism? We might wonder : Why doesn"t Saint John relate a single exorcism?

      It is clear that I set aside all the exegetical questions about the authenticity of the words of Jesus or not of Jesus. I receive the Word of God as inspired by the Holy Spirit, thus with belief, whether Jesus really said them or not. They are teachings from God.

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      1°) Saint John and Satan :

      We cannot say that the question does not interest Saint John. Indeed, we find in the Book of Revelation a whole theology of Satan, more so than in the synoptics. There is also in the first Epistle, a whole theology of the anti-Christ. It is not that Saint John does not believe in it. He saw our Lord expel Satan and all that Jesus does is of the utmost interest to him. It is not impossible that Saint John has not thought of the question and as he does not speak about it explicitly we must be intelligence if we want to understand. As the author of the Book of Revelations says : "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

      It is not because Saint John does not explicitly speak of exorcism that it is not present in his thought. Even more, the Holy Spirit, principal author of the Scriptures, probably wants to render us attentive to something particular that belongs to the Revelation. There are silences that are more revealing than a lot of words.

      The first thing we might think is that the problem of exorcism is contained implicitly in another teaching. Indeed, to hold at the same time that Saint John did not ignore the question and that he did not explicitly speak of it, obliges us to consider that he spoke about it discretely as in the present case. Can we not understand in this way that the truth sets us free is also an answer to the aggressions by Satan that the prayer of deliverance applies to.

      So what of what use is exorcism if the truth sets free? How must we understand the connection between exorcism and the truth that sets free? Is revealing truth a major exorcism? If truth frees even from an aggression that the prayer of deliverance or exorcism applies to, is it still necessary to operate a discernment in view of an exorcism? But in this case, if there is no need to discern, in the name of what does one practice a prayer of deliverance?

      Yet the Church has always maintained the prayer of exorcism. Would the truth that sets free be contained in the prayer of exorcism or deliverance? In what way is the prayer of exorcism, which consists mainly in an order given to Satan to let go , the truth that sets free? I am thinking of one of the conferences that we will hear that is quite significant.

      As we see a great number of questions arise as soon as we admit that Saint John is not a stranger to deliverance and yet he is more than discreet on the subject.

      What does Saint John want to tell us?

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      2°) Truth will set you free

      In this passage of the Scriptures that we are referring to, Jesus characterizes Satan in two ways : he is a murderer from the beginning and he is the father of lies (Jn 8, 44). Homicide is not only physical death, but also spiritual death. What the enemy aims at above all is the spiritual supernatural death of man. He wants man to lose grace.

      Indeed, the Jews who engaged in controversy with Jesus are the sons of the devil and the devil has lost the supernatural life that linked him to his end, God. He has lost his purpose or finality. He can only be the father of those who lose their supernatural life or are on the way to losing it because they resemble their father.

      How does he go about making us lose supernatural life? Supernatural life being founded on Faith, which adheres to Truth revealed to us, it is by lying which is contrary to Faith that Satan can cause us to lose eternal life. Thus, being the father of lies, he is the father of those who lose supernatural life or are on the way to losing it. We understand why Satan is a father : he communicates to his sons his spirit of lies so that his sons are like him.

      As he has lost his purpose or finality, Satan ignores all about purpose. The pride of the intelligence causes it to consider everything that it doesn't understand as non-existant. It scorns it by denying it. Is it not a considerable lie to make man believe that his finality or purpose does not exist? A lie so big that it leads to the loss of grace. By wanting to ignore God and Christ who leads him to God, man under the influence of Satan loses this personal bond with his true Father.

      As a result, "the truth will set you free" shows us what can be a counter-poison to Satan. To remain in truth, is to be sure that we do not enter a path of perdition. But of what truth are we speaking?

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      3°) The truth that liberates

      The first thing to notice and that can right away be deduced from this text of Saint John, is that the accent is put on the answer to the sin which is the most serious of all according to 1 John, for by it we deny that Christ is God : it is the sin of the anti-Christ. The Gospel of St John focuses on the essential, on our finality or purpose, that is to say on what concerns man, his predestination. What opposes the predestination of man, his salvation the most, is sin and not the aggressions of Satan that concern the prayer of deliverance.

      Here experience is enlightening: a person can be possessed by the devil without his or her salvation being in question. This does not mean that we neglect possession or any other aggressions of the devil. How is this possible if possession is to be situated on the same level as actual mortal sin? A person who wants to be liberated from possession by the devil is on the way towards Christ and his salvation is less in question than that of a person who is neither possessed nor infested but who is in a state of moral sin. Someone who dies in a state of possession by the devil but wishes to be liberated will be saved. A person who is neither possessed nor invested but who is in a state of mortal sin will not be saved. That is why there is a sacrament for sin, i.e. a gratuitous efficacy given by God to liberate man from sin which impedes salvation, whereas there is no sacrament to liberate man from Satan. Exorcism is a sacramental, it requires, to be efficient, the cooperation of the person who is exorcized and thus a conversion.

      How can we explain the sin and the aggression of Satan which concerns the prayer of deliverance is not on the same level? Sin is a voluntary act, therefore an act of the spirit. Possession is an act of Satan, which may be caused by an act of the human spirit, but not necessarily so. Moreover the aggression of Satan, his action cannot be situated on the level of the spiritual soul, for the soul is linked to the presence of the Creator, to the point where Satan has not access to it. Only God and man have access to the spiritual soul, not Satan. Satan, even in a possession can only act on the spiritual soul indirectly or more precisely by hindering the use of the spiritual faculties.

      The first discernment to be drawn from Saint John, therefore, is that one must distinguish between what directly opposes salvation, sin and what opposes it indirectly, the aggressions of Satan which concern the prayer of deliverance.

      Here, we must pay close attention to the notion of Truth in Saint John. Truth is analogical in Saint John, it has several meanings. It can at the same time be the Truth that is God himself (Jn 14, 6 : I am the way the truth and the life), and the Truth of faith (No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. Jn 1, 18) a truth that one does (If we say that we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth. I Jn 1, 6). It is probably this third sense of truth that will give us the most light.

      That the God of truth liberates us is the meaning of the good news of the Gospel. That the truth of Faith liberates us is indeed the meaning of the words that Jesus says in this passage of the Gospel according to St John : "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (Jn 8, 31)

      The truth that one does is the immediate consequence of the truth of Faith, because being in communion with Him (doing truth according to 1 Jn 1,6), is to keep his word, and thus walk in light. To do truth is to expose the gap between communion with Christ (to keep his word) and to walk in darkness.

      Saint John speaks of light and darkness which form an opposition taken immediately from the metaphysical character of God. Indeed in the Prologue of the Gospel, we see : "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" Elsewhere we find : "God is light and there is no darkness in him." Light is the very mystery of the Divine Being. We must hold fast to this metaphysical aspect of light so as not to reduce light to the moral aspect of things..

      We are children of God through our Faith, which means we are children of light. Satan wants to be our father by having us walk in darkness. Being children of God in Faith cannot be reduced to the moral aspect of acting according to Faith. Deeper still, acting according to Faith rectifies man in his person, in the existential part of him. This acting according to Faith re-orientates man in himself, he becomes light.

      The sacraments are sensible signs which show us this divine will, this project of God to re-orientate man towards his end taking into account even his senses, the limits of his human condition. Through repeated acts towards his end, man re-orientates his whole person towards his end. So in the end it is his personal being that is re-orientated : he is a child of light. Thus it is truly a metaphysical aspect of man that is affected. This is very important with regard to the action of Satan on man.

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      4°) Truth is the light of man

      Usually we speak of being truthful when accompanying spiritually. The expression "walk in light" is meaningful. We walk thanks to the exterior light that shows us the way. Is this to say that being accompanied spiritually is enough to ward off the attacks of Satan and to liberate us from them?

      Does not experience show us persons who are profoundly Christian, with a spiritual father and yet who are attacked by Satan with more than simple temptations? How is it that certain persons, living a Christian life, accompanied spiritually can suffer from demoniacal attacks going up to possession, leaving aside special permissions by God which are charismatic? On the other hand, why is it that some non-Christians in the sights of sorcery or witchcraft are out of the reach of Satan?

      This simple ordinary experiences for those who practice the ministry of deliverance help us to understand that in these cases, the truth that protects a person from the attackss of Satan is not first of all the truth of Faith. Indeed, a believer can be assailed by Satan, Faith did not protect him. Not that Faith does not protect us from Satan but in certain cases it does not completely protect us. Faith saves us, says Saint Paul, because it justifies. In this sense it liberates us from Satan concerning our predestination but it does not necessarily liberate us with regard to our life on earth and our person.

      We said that Satan has lost his finality or purpose. He ignores what concerns the finality of creatures because it is the same end : God. If man leaves his end, he becomes known to Satan and can be the victim of his maltreatment. As long as man stays within his supernatural end, he is unknown to Satan. That is why Satan can do nothing against our supernatural life, because he does not know it, or no longer knows it. It is the same thing with our natural life. If this life is directed towards its end, Satan ignores it. As soon as this end is lost, he knows this end and can attack it.

      How is it that Satan who is so powerful doesn't, if one believes chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation, act upon nature? It is because nature is orientated towards its end, it has a natural inclination towards its end, except in certain cases where bad dispositions impede this inclination towards the end. Man can intervene in nature so violently that he can create bad dispositions which will be so many doors open to Satan to shake up our good old earth!

      Thus a non Christian who lives in view of a natural end, for example friendship, will not be affected by Satan in as much as this end fills his whole life. Reciprocally, in as much as the acts of his natural life are not in the line of this end, he may be affected by the adversary.

      Like any created spiritual creature, Satan acts only upon what he knows, this is on what has no end. Satan can therefore act upon and intervene in the life of a human being who presents dispositions without a purpose or finality, even if that person is otherwise under the influence of an end. So it is not only human acts, human activity (which would be without moral rectitude) that gives Satan the possibility of acting or attacking. He can act whenever there is a disposition, a state without finality. We will consider a case which is widespread at the present : mediums. We also understand why Satan can use genealogy to reach persons. When a person has an ascendancy that is encumbered, he acquires bad dispositions through heredity and even if he is a good Christian, fervent with good intentions, Satan can affect him.

      There would doubtlessly be a great deal to say for the whole New Age movement creates in persons these bad dispositions which are veritable open doors for Satan.

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      5°) Theological discernment

      First of all, we must consider what theological discernment is and not expect it to give what it cannot give. There is a practical discernment concerning a particular person and a theological one. The practical discernment is grounded on the theological one but takes the concrete person into account. For example : The theological discernment concerning baptism performed by a non Christian under exceptional circumstances is that the minister must have the intention of doing what the Church does. Now if the case comes up, we cannot know if the minister has conferred the baptism validly or not. Indeed, to have the intention of doing what the Church does is a interior act that only God can judge. We can only say that if the minister has met the conditions, the baptism is conferred validly. The practical discernment is based on the concrete knowledge of the person. If the minister is unknown, we will be unable to discern practically speaking.

      When we are trying to discern the finality of a human person, we are able to discern theologically but the practical discernment requires knowledge of the person. Indeed, the end is supremely personal and spiritual. If we know the reality pursued by man is known, the point to which he pursues it is not. This is why the sort of discernment that we need necessitates a spiritual guidance. This is a little like trying to square a circle, for the people who consult us are not those we accompany. At any rate it would be a good thing to ask whether the person who consults us has a spiritual father that we could consult, but this is rarely the case! I believe that in the exceptional circumstances that we are in, the Holy Spirit helps us considerably, but this does not exempt us from using the means that we dispose of.

      This is my hypothesis of research : I wonder if the discernment is not in the distinction between nature and the person. Man has a human nature that he must develop. When he develops his human nature in accordance with his ultimate purpose or finality, he becomes a human person. The human person can be looked at in two ways : from the formal side where we say that the person is composed of a soul and a body. This is the structure of a person. The other point of view is that of the end where man is a person in potential.

      In this hypothesis, we can state that Satan cannot attack the person, whether Christian or not. On the other hand, he can attack human nature without an end.

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      6°) A few consequences of this discernment

      The work of God is that you believe in him whom He has sent (cf. Jn 6, 29), but with a divine Faith which takes possession of our whole person, making us children of God, sons of light, not just of a purely formal Faith. The work of Satan is to keep human nature from developing towards its end, so that if Faith is present, it remains a purely abstract faith. His work also consists of affecting man in his human nature so that it no longer responds to the desires of the soul. Thus man despairs and is lead either to suicide, or he loses theological Hope along with Charity.

      How can human nature be kept from growing in the line of its end?

      On a political level in the philosophical sense of the term, namely from a social or collective point of view, the state plays a certain role. Normally, it does not deal with persons except by accident through individuals, because purpose or finality is personal and no state has a right over personal finality. Its role is on the contrary to help the growth of human nature according to its end. When the state, deliberately, keeps human nature from developing according to its end, it acts as an enemy. For example, under the pretext of lay neutrality, to refuse the religious dimension of man, is to oppose in the clearest and most hidden way (this is under the pretext of being non-confessional and promoting tolerance) the development of man in his human person. This is favoring the creation of doors open to Satan.

      Culture is the sphere man lives in. That shows the importance of culture in the growth of human nature! If our culture contains no trace of our end, then it arrests the development of human nature. Thus a scientific culture that exalts human intelligence and keeps it from discovering what exceeds it and can act as its end, will be favorable to Satan.

      Another aspect seems more and more important today. Human nature is in part what transmits from generation to generation whereas the human person is the work of man. A human nature that is degraded by a great number of serious sins can only transmit by generation a degraded nature. Serious and repeated sins create bad dispositions in human nature that are transmitted from generation to generation and that are truly doors open to Satan. Here, it is not only a moral question. A person who inherits by generation a degraded nature can lead a very moral life and be attacked by Satan because his being is unable to develop into a human person. I will give you a classical example where the metaphysical rather than the moral aspect of a case of possession by Satan can be seen.

      I was saying that possession is not necessarily due to a guilty act on the part of the possessed person. Indeed, the presence of the demon, an angelical one, is produced by mode of action. Satan is present when acting upon someone. In order to exert his action he must find the dispositions that open the door to him for he fears what is bound to God by God's act of creation. Thus, a person who puts himself under the dependence of another person possessed by Satan, creates this disposition which will permit Satan to act. This can go a long way for certain dependences are natural like that of a baby towards its parents. I saw the case of a woman possessed by Satan because her father, a satanist, had vowed her to the devil at birth. She was thus possessed already at birth.

      In the same way, things that degrade human nature generally speaking, like childhood wounds, drugs, etc. create bad dispositions which Satan can use to attack man.

      It would be interesting to examine, in what we know by experience : childhood wounds, a diseased family tree, etc. what is, in human nature affected, in order to discover the remedy that will be the most helpful to persons. For example, it is certain that what is called the memory of the body when speaking of childhood wounds, is not in the least cellular but intellectual. Heredity on the contrary can carry the memory of the biological body.

      Reciprocally we might discover the anomalies of the development of human nature by examining each of the faculties of this nature in order to discern the favorable places for the attacks of Satan. The human intelligence that would never develop into a search for truth, but would remain immanent to its functioning, never exceeding itself, might engender bad dispositions because this goes against its nature because it is made for love, that is for the other.

      In any case, it is certain that what can remove these bad dispositions, acquired or inherited by generation, will free us from Satan. Now it seems to me, precisely, given the circumstances surrounding man, that the intelligence has a special role to play in the development of the human person. It would doubtless take too long to elaborate a human anthropology, but intelligence is a key in this area. The end is reached concretely only by the will. It is indeed the intelligence that directs human nature towards what can become a person or not.

      Is this not the key that Saint John gives us : "Truth will set you free."

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      This theological discernment of nature and of the person enables us to approach the mystery of man under the aspect where we understand the sphere of the human person that is untouchable by Satan and that cannot be affected by him. Doing truth means thus to engage in the development of the human nature towards its end. Is it not in this that truth liberates us? The truth liberates in the general sense of liberation but in our field, at least in the ministry that is ours, the search for truth turns nature into a person and liberates him in a precise sense. On the other hand, the search for truth about what impedes the development of human nature into a person permits us to discern the work of liberation that must be accomplished.

      And finally, to sum things up technically, one might say that the fundamental discernment concerns human nature and the ultimate discernment concerns the person. In reality, we discern the human person since nature cannot be separated from the person but is integrated by it. Satan cannot touch the person, since the person implies finality. On the other hand, he can affect a human nature that is little or not at all directed towards its end and thus touch indirectly the person. It is clear that this discernment as to the attacks of Satan is not simply moral but I was going to say metaphysical through the human anthropology that it unfolds. It is not therefore first of all Christian. It is human. That is why Saint John speaks of the truth that sets us free for this truth is both Christian and human.

      On the other hand, it is important to notice that Saint John directs the discernment of the effects towards that of the cause. When you recount the practice of exorcism, you see the effects, that is the liberation, in other words the disappearance of the symptoms. The principal cause, Satan, also disappears, but what allowed him to attack can remain hidden. But nothing remains hidden for truth because it is light. In Him was light and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (Jn 1, 5)

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What discernment?

      The first discernment that the shepherd of souls will have to make is not as to the advisability of undertaking the exorcism, but as to the direction of Christ regarding the believer in Christ. What is the good of this believer in face of his suffering? Before determining what remedy to apply, we must determine the place and the importance of this suffering in the path of holiness of the persons. The wisdom of God, in the fourth way that God delivers the soul from evil (31), requires this search.

      It is possible however that the good of the soul requires that it be assisted in its theological hope by giving it this "sacramental of hope". In this case, if the evil from which the Christian suffers is a powerful aggression on the part of the demon, the adequate sacramental will be exorcism, if it is not a powerful one, then this sacramental can be a prayer of deliverance.

Notes: 31 - See above « the Lord's prayer ».

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The prayer of deliverance

      Theological hope permits us to truly hope for our neighbour (32). Because of fraternal charity, indeed, we wish people we love the best good. Divine help is the object of theological hope and can take the form of fraternal aid (33).

Notes: 32 - ST, II-II, q 17, a 3, c. : « Yet if we presuppose the union of love with another, a man can hope for and desire something for another man, as for himself ; and, accordingly, he can hope for another's eternal life, inasmuch as he is united to him by love, and just as it is in the same virtue of charity whereby a man loves God, himself, and his neighbor, so too it is the same virtue of hope, whereby a man hopes for himself and for another. ».
33 - ST, II-II, q. 17, a. 4, c : « It is, however, lawful to hope in a man or a creature as being the secondary and instrumental agent through whom one is helped to obtain any goods that are ordained to happiness. »

A sign of hope

      In this perspective, to accompany a brother in Christ, by praying with him so that he be delivered in one way or another of the weight of suffering that he bears, is a sacramental. It is no longer a question of an imperative prayer, but of an entreaty or a supplication. The sign of this sacramental will be the faith and hope manifested by the person who prays and who, for this, expresses himself out loud, in order to be heard by the person suffering. In the prayer, the person suffering unites himself with the person praying while being upheld by the faith and the hope of the person praying for him. He can thus make a more fervent act of faith and hope than that he would make by himself. It is that more fervent act of faith and hope that will liberate the person suffering.

      Because of this, the prayer of deliverance requires that we be contemplative in order to support the person suffering in his union with God. There would certainly be a lot to say here about fraternal charity practiced in this manner in the light of the mystery of the Word made flesh. Mary, at the upper chamber supports the apostles by the fervor of her prayer and the Holy Spirit is given in response to this eminent practice of fraternal charity (34).

Notes: 34 - Acts 1, 14 ; 2, 1-4.

A battle against the obstacles to deliverance

      One particular aspect of the prayer for deliverance, today's most widespread one, concerns the evil that hinders the liberation from the devil, even by the solemn exorcism. In question is what we habitually call "the open doors".

Discernment concerning this aspect of deliverance should be left to those who have a solid experience(35).

      The open doors

      Jesus says that liberating a person from Satan is not enough for the latter might well come back (36). The person liberated, through a conversion and a desire to follow Christ, must no longer allow Satan a hold over him., but must also be invulnerable, especially in the places that are the easiest for the adversary to reach.

      The demon, having lost his end in his fall, can only act (37) upon what is not finalized, upon what he knows, upon a person of the same nature as his. We cannot develop here the metaphysics of the person, but let us retain from all this that the person develops founded upon his nature by seeking its finality and by desiring to be united to his end. Anything that will hinder the development of human nature into a human being will therefore be a bad disposition under the action of the demon. The development, extremely complex, of the person remains more or less dependant upon his historical condition, in so far as the mind has more or less gone beyond this condition through the search for truth and love of the good that is proportioned to it.

Notes: 35 - The elements of discernment that are given here do not aim at suggesting that the reader himself undertake this discernment.
36 - Lk 11, 24-26.
37 - For our instruction, there are exceptions in saints where God allows certain attacks by the devil outside of temptations. Jesus himself accepted to be approached by him in the desert. Cf. Mt 4, 1-11 or Lk 4, 1-13. We all remember the Curé d'Ars, but God can also allow other more hidden people, not as well-known as to their holiness, also to be aggressed by the devil in order to instruct us. There is the famous case of Antoine Gay in Lyons in the 19th century, who under the power of demonical possession gave a theology of the Immaculate Conception.

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      A radical conditionment : the atavism

      The human conditionment is to be seen at the level of the heritage transmitted by generation. An atavism can be bad heredity where the dispositions transmitted by generation are used by the enemy to attack man (38). There are empirically discovered (39) symptoms that converge with those of psychology and medicine, by which we can spot a "weighty" heredity on the mother or father's side. If for example, at each generation of the family tree abortions have been committed, or suicides, or adulteries, etc., this may occasion a wealth of suffering that the descendents will have to bear. People will, for instance, have the impression that they carry, by moments, an almost physical weight, like a heavy bag. According to this vision of things, by reason of the bad dispositions transmitted by generation, the weight of suffering endured by the descendents might be increased by demonical action.

      To counteract evil or to be delivered of it, some people celebrate "a mass of healing of the family tree". The family tree is carried by the descendant because he constitutes the union between his ancestors. It can be a votive mass to Christ the Redemptor in which the celebrant intercedes for the suffering person to be liberated according to the plan of God. The Conference of the Bishops of France has published a document on the mass called the mass of the healing of the family tree as recommended by its initiator Dr Keneth Mac All, an Anglican, and taken up again by Father Hampsch (40), an American Catholic priest, who strongly advises against it (41). The two principal reasons given by the bishops are clear. In the first place, from the psychological point of view, this mass is extremely risky because it places people in a situation of de-responsibilization (42). Mass is perceived as a magical solution that will free us from the work of purification of one's self. In the second place, Dr Keneth Mac All thinks that the dead are sometimes wandering spirits that are waiting to be freed and to enter the light; he also thinks that the souls that did evil on earth can continue to torment the living. Christian doctrine does not hold that there are wandering souls (43) for these souls in front of God and are determined by a particular judgment. These two reasons invalidate the mass of the healing of the family tree such as advocated by Dr Mac All. However, just as the Church encourages the celebration of masses for the victims of sortileges over several generations, in the same way, she does not prohibit saying a mass for those who suffer from and bad atavism which the devil used to harm them, provided that the manner in which God in his Providence delivers from evil is made evident.

      Childhood wounds

      A second aspect of the human conditionment that can check the growth of a person, or hinder a deliverance, is a childhood wound. A child, who is not loved according to the language of a love that corresponds to him, will be wounded. This childhood wound can show up at any age of life, if the person experiences similar circumstances to those that wounded him in his childhood. The manifestations of the wound are diverse according to the wound, but the most frequent are a depression that no medicine can cure, insurmountable violence or sadness, a feeling of abandon, etc. The path of deliverance requires a prayer for inner healing during which the person is invited to offer his childhood wounds, while helping him to see them in the Christian light of hope. Christ by dying on the Cross chose to be close to those who have been wounded by the circumstances of life and by the sins of man. A childhood wound in this light becomes something that brings us providentially closer to Jesus, a door open to heaven.

      The request for inner healing is not a psychotherapy (44), but a contemplative prayer where the soul discovers the love that God holds for him through his sufferings that assimilates him in part with the crucified Christ. The prayer of inner healing aims at allowing the suffering person to enter into a theological view and pull him out of a withdrawal into himself by inviting him to look beyond a human point of view of his childhood wounds that is downgrading.

Notes: 38 - There might be an analogy to work on with regards to the transmission of original sin. The dispositions which are the consequences of original sin are transmitted from generation to generation and are "veritable open doors" to the devil. These consequences of original sin cannot be done away with, but only diminished by the life of faith, other bad dispositions, whereas other bad dispositions can be taken away by the grace of the Lamb who bore everything.
39 - It is evident that these symptoms are neither exhaustive nor sufficient to affirm the diagnostic with certitude because they can have other causes. They are indicative but the accumulation of signs gives sufficient moral conviction to undertake the appropriate accompaniment.
40 - Father John H. HAMPSCH, Healing your family tree. A divine solution for difficult problems, Goleta, Queenship Publishing Company, 1986.
41 - THE CONFERENCE OF THE BISHOPS OF FRANCE. « Doctrinal n° 6 on the healing of family trees by the Eucharist », 19th of January 2007, that can be found on internet at the following address : note 6 guerison arbre genealogique.pdf
42 - Ibid. p. 2 : « The approach called healing of the family tree is from a scientific point of view, extremely risky [...] The probable consequence is that it blocks a true process of psychical elaboration. The person finds himself as if washed of his implication in what has happened to him.
43 - Ibid. p. 2 : "That the souls of the dead that are still in purgatory may harm, in the present and in a decisive way, the spiritual health of their descendants, and that by delivering them, we can actually heal the others, this is what appears as a new truth to the Catholic church and without basis in Tradition : it can therefore neither be acknowledged nor practiced.
44 - Neither is it only a psycho-spiritual accompaniment which tends to neglect the whole aspect of the development of the mind of a person.

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      Mediumnity (45)

      A third aspect touching upon the conditionment of mankind concerns the disordered development of human nature. The most widespread case is that of the mediumnatic, cognitive or affective tendencies. The sensitivity of man can be so strong that it seizes his whole vital capacity to the detriment of his spiritual life. This chaotic mobilization of his vitality can become usual. The person with mediumnatic tendencies has a hard time concentrating as long as the realism of intelligence escapes him.

      If the mediumnity is affective, the emotivity will be abnormally great, excessive. The compassion for the suffering of others that results will have fusional tendencies to such an extent that the medium will not only feel this quasi physical suffering as his own, but will be so affected by it that he will not be able to control the feelings resulting from the experience. He may have the illusion of experiencing a spiritual compassion. People may go so far that they think that they are experiencing an eminent form of fraternal charity through this simple "feeling" of the suffering of others. The same is true for the personal relation with God where the medium often has the illusion of an authentically mystical life because of a palpable affective experience that is mistaken for union with God. The common point between these drifts is to place what is experienced, what is felt, before the objectivity of the touching of the mystery given in faith, hope and love.

      The symptoms of mediumnic tendancies are permanent fatigue brought on by unbridled imagination, recurrent anguish without cause, sleep that doesn't restore, premonitions, difficulty in leading a social life because of permeability to the influences of the society the medium is living in, etc. It is important to beware of confusing these symptoms with those of a pathology like depression. Because of this, the cooperation with a doctor is useful, if not necessary.

      Mediumnity is an opening which will be used by the devil, since it is contrary to the intention of God concerning the person. A Christian with unconscious mediumnic tendancies can live a life of prayer and yet remain vulnerable to the assaults of the demon. Christ lives in a fervent Christian, but the Christian is not protected from exterior assaults from the enemy which do not however put into jeopardy his access to salvation. In this case, deliverance cannot be obtained by prayer, since the question is that of human responsibility with regard to the development of oneself. The development of the realism of our intelligence and the acquisition of what philosophy calls the virtue of intelligence promote the rectification of mediumnic sensitivity.

      Mediumnicity, being the fruit of excessive development of the sensitivity and above all of the imaginary, gives power in regard to the subtlety of matter, energy. This is why mediumnicity, predisposes to occultism, as well as to magnetism and radiesthesie, divination and spiritism, etc. Fundamentally, mediumnic powers develop along the lines of wounded human nature. Using them being contrary to the vocation of the intelligence such as the wisdom of God intended it, occultism, using these mediumnic powers, strongly attract the presence of the devil.

      This is why there is a great risk of confusion between natural therapies that concern energies and occultism. Natural therapies like acupuncture and homoeopathy can be beneficial since they allow the organism of the person govern the modifications of energy whereas practices acting from the outside, outside the implication of the soul, like magnetism, are violent and do not respect the person.

      Last of all, mediumnity can produce effects like those of the charisms of discerning, knowledge, science or healing etc. Some people are astonished to find that after having practiced what they think are charisms, they are subject to assaults that they account for as a spiritual battle for good, while in reality they are victims of the devil because of their mediumnic practice.

Notes: 45 - On this question, we recommend the book by the I.A.D., n° 3, La prière de délivrance et d'exorcisme. Le discernement.

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      The disordered state of human nature induces much confusion and one cannot keep from thinking of the Beast of the land in the Book of Revelations that accomplishes prodigies to a degree that astonished the inhabitants of the earth. It makes fire come down from heaven to earth, makes the image of the Beast of the sea come to life and marks with his number his followers (46). Jesus came to cast a fire on the earth which symbolizes charity as well as light (47). The demoniacal caricature of charity is a false compassion imitating the compassion of the Cross (48) and pretends to bring happiness to man through the suppression of suffering thanks to occult ways of healing (49). The demoniacal caricature of light is a false inspiration from God that pretends to help distressed humanity through a prediction of the future (50), divination. Jesus, Word made flesh, is the Image of the Father that he has come to give us in order to restore the image of God. This image is quite real but veiled; it is an invisible presence. The demoniacal caricature is a false presence thanks to the confusion of the real with the virtual, as shown by the coming to life of the Beast of the sea in the Book of Revelation (51). Last of all the mark of the Beast of the earth, the 666, is the sign of recognition that enables the worshippers of the Beast to buy and sell. Is this not the demoniacal caricature of Christian initiation (52)? Christian initiation is that of the sacraments whose character marks the Christian in a indelible way with his incorporation into Christ, which enables him to participate in the "exchange" of the Church, in its liturgical activities, in which he finds the nourishment for his theological life.

      How may we help today those who consecrate themselves to occult activities, who prone its benefits efficiently. Will the person of good not justify himself by the good that comes of these activities? Is not the only way to enlighten a Christian who has entered into these obscure paths with authentic sincerity to make manifest the demoniacal strategy that mocks him by using his unguided good will ?

      Finally, a path of sanctity unites us more and more to Christ and gives us true discernment by co-naturality, but the cooperation of the intelligence is not to be neglected and seems more and more essential in the face of the confusions the Dragon gives rise to.

Notes: 46 - Rev 13, 11-18.
47 - Lk 12, 49-50. It is clear that Jesus is announcing here his passion for he continues : "for I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!"
48 - The compassion of a medium will tend to be first of all emotional. The compassion of Christ is first of all spiritual.
49 - Occult therapies are numerous today and one might name in particular reïki, kinesiology, etc.
50 - Some modern divinations take on the appearance of science like astology, numerology, etc. For complete information about this practices see the book written by Jacky CORDONNIERi, Les Dérives religieuses, Lyon, Chronique sociale, 2003.
51 - Cf. Rev 13, 14-15.
52 - We are thinking here of all the occult initiations that enable the iniated to begin in a broad sense with those that are also marked.

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IV - Mediumnity (Fatima, 07/05)

(A conference given during the third annual colloquium of the International Association for Deliverance, in 2005 at Fatima. Published in French in the acts of the colloquium, a book entitled La prière de deliverance et d'exorcisme - Le discernement, Editions Benedictines 2005. Translated from the French in November 2006 by the brothers of Saint John.)


      I have found myself obliged to turn my attention to the problem of mediumnity because of the ministry of exorcism. Right at the beginning of this ministry, eleven years ago now, I noticed that there were people whom I could not manage to free despite repeated prayers of liberation, interior healing, healing of the family tree, etc... Having sought council from some people experienced in this domain I was still getting nowhere. My question was this: how is it possible that one be unable to free certain people from evil?

      I then spoke at length with some of these people who would come to see me, and discovered in the end that they all had one thing in common: they were all mediums. I therefore went to see my bishop to share with him what I had discovered and ask authorisation to practise a prayer asking the Lord to free these people from their mediumnity. With the agreement of my bishop I went ahead with this prayer over the first person who came to me with mediumnity. I was amazed to see the result, for the person lost their mediumnity! Unfortunately, though I repeated the same thing over and again, it no longer worked!

      The Lord wanted, no doubt, to have me understand that the problem preventing liberation was indeed mediumnity but that the means of freeing these 'medium' people was not prayer. From the symptoms common to all mediums I therefore began to seek what mediumnity could be in the philosophical field, since non-Christians could also be mediums.

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1 - The symptoms of mediumnity.

      The most marked symptom is hyper-sensibility. A medium feels everything: persons, places, objects, etc... The feeling experienced within is physical and not of an intuitional order, nor is it a discernment of the intelligence. It is different according to the quality of that which is felt. If the thing that one feels is good, the medium feels a physical well-being. It seems to him that he is recharging, so to speak. Inversely, if the thing that one feels is bad, the medium feels anguish or a sudden heavy tiredness: it seems to him that his energy is being drained.

      This hyper-sensibility usually shows itself in a particular vulnerability of the five senses, or one or several of them. For example, a medium can be very sensitive to sound. A loud sound will resound in his head to the point of being intolerable.

      A medium has a permanent light tiredness: he always feels tired. He seeks solitude for communal life is often difficult, not to say impossible. Thus places where crowds and much movement are found, like stations, airports, busy shops, are a pain for him: he feels as though he is being emptied of his energy.

      A medium loves two places in particular: nature and churches, above all when they are empty. In these places he feels that he recharges and regains health.

      Usually a medium attracts everyone who has problems, everyone who's not doing well. These miserable people tell him their life stories and all their trials and tribulations, and after a while, during the telling of these woes, the medium starts to feel the sufferings of the other person and to pick them up. Then it is as if there is an exchange which takes place where the medium takes upon himself the suffering of the other person, at the same time as loosing his energies, whereas the other person feels better and better, draining the medium's energies, so to speak.

      A medium makes his decisions according to that which he feels within. When there is a decision to take or a choice to make, he confides himself to what he feels within and opts for that which he feels most strongly for between what he has to choose from.

      A medium is not usually a deep sleeper and can have problems of demonic aggression during the night. Even if he doesn't his sleep seems to do him no good: in the morning he awakens more tired than when he went to bed the night before.

      A medium knows that he has no defences and so he feels like a sponge absorbing everything lying around. Especially when confronted with the devil or with evil energies he feels completely open to attack, as he will himself say. When an evil energy is upon him he cannot manage to shake it off.

      What is mediumnity? Is it good? How can one protect oneself from the inconveniences it gives rise to?

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2 - What is mediumnity?

      Personally I have reflected on this question from the starting point of philosophy of the living being, since we are dealing with hyper-sensitivity. I am not a specialist in this discipline, but my knowledge in this field, poor as it is, has enlightened me a lot. A gaze of wisdom begining from the Creator makes it possible to better highlight the finality and to situate mediumnity more clearly in relation to this finality, in order to be able to use the theological discernment we have recommended.

      The human living being is complex. It is characterised by a certain autonomy of life. It depends upon a vital milieu, but its life belongs to it in the sense that it governs its vital operations by itself. Everything I've just said would require greater development; they are conclusions of philosophy of the living being which all presuppose an analysis which we don't have the time to do here.

      This vitality, the source of which the living being retains within, is limited. Sport shows us all too clearly the limits of this vitality. The human living being uses this vitality as he wishes to, but is determined in the nature of his vital operations. We can group together these vital operations into three degrees of life starting from the experience that we have of other living beings. Like plants, man feeds himself and breaths. Like animals he feels, for his life is sensible. Lastly, that which is proper to man is the spiritual degree of life, the spirit. We must be careful here because the spiritual life of which I am speaking in philosophy of the living being is the life of the spirit at the natural and not the supernatural level. We are talking about the life of the intelligence and the will which are the principal faculties of the spiritual soul.

      Man's limited vitality is deployed in these three degrees of life. Development of man's vitality starting from his vital operations is a part of the growth of human nature of which we spoke of in our last conference (A conference entitled "La vérité vous rendra libres", published in the same volume, La prière de deliverance et d'exorcisme - Le discernement, Editions Benedictines 2005.). In order that human nature, from the point of view of life, develop as a person, this vitality must extend throughout the living being according to a finality; which presupposes that man himself is finalised. (This finality considered in man's personal being can only be discovered in metaphysics. Thus, metaphysics gives philosophy of the living being its finality.) Everything must therefore be ordered towards the spiritual life. An irregularity can appear - as is the case for mediums - where the capital of life is as if crystallised around the sensible level of life and this happens outside of the medium's immediate will.

      We can understand then, that a medium has a very developed capacity to sense - more than is normal - and can have perceptions which other, non-medium people, do not have. It is more than the developed hearing of a blind person; a medium has hyper-sensibility. We can therefore say, all in all, that mediumnity, as a development of the sensible life to the detriment of the other degrees of life, is an anomaly for the living being concerning its finality. Finally, let us note that mediumnity is a stable state of the living being's vitality. We can say that it is analogous to a habitus. A habitus is a stable disposition.

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3 - What is the origin of mediumnity?

      Since mediumnity belongs to the sensitive life, one would be tempted to say that it is hereditary, just as dispositions of the sensible life are. In reality, these dispositions (i.e. an inclination to produce acts of the sensible life) are indeed hereditary. A child whose spirit is not yet awakened will produce acts of the sensitive life, and because of these medium dispositions received through heredity, he will immediately become medium. Thus we meet people who are medium since their very early years because they have a medium father or mother.

      When the mediumnity is hereditary, the medium in question has great difficulty recognising that his state is not normal, for just as a person who is born blind, he has always experienced these feelings and he thinks that everyone is the same. What a discovery when a person born medium realises that he is not like others!

      Being analogous to a habitus, mediumnity too can be acquired. It is in fact thus that one discovers that mediumnity is a habitus, for it is acquired. It suffices to do certain exercises of the sensibility to develop it beyond what is normally required for cooperating with the intelligence's knowledge. Thus a blind person develops his hearing and touch because, since he cannot see, he makes an effort to hear sounds and to feel with his hands in order to move around. By repeating these acts he develops his hearing and touch in an ordinary and stable way. He has created a habitus to the point of not needing to make an effort to hear or feel with his hands; it happens by itself.

      Thus, all exercises which develop sensibility beyond sensibility's finality - that is, beyond its order with regard to intelligence - will develop mediumnity. The domain of sensibility in man is complex, so much so that mediumnity can take very different forms according to the sensible faculty which is developed. However, the common point between all mediumnity in this domain is the development of the imagination and of the cognitive.

      The cognitive is not the faculty of cogitation, but rather a special faculty which allows one to sense the milieu in which one finds oneself. In animals this faculty is called the estimative. A lamb, for example, sees a wolf and flees because, thanks to its estimative capacity, it senses that what is there before it is contrary to its nature. In man the estimative is called the cogitative.

      Without doubt there would be much to say about practises which develop mediumnity. Some Christians, with very good and pious intentions, develop mediumnity without realising it. Someone who, for example, when they pray always seeks to feel that God is there, that God loves them, etc... Such a person will develop mediumnity. The same goes for someone who seeks affective fusion. An attitude involving affective fusion is typical of a medium, even if not all who seek it are medium.

      The confusion of the spiritual and the sensible leads many people into developing mediumnity. Everything that has something, closely or remotely, to do with the New Age reposes, without admitting it, upon a development of mediumnity. In all things linked with New Age one learns to enter into contact with the forces of nature, in harmony with the energies of the universe, etc... Yet physical nature is not spiritual and to enter into fusion with nature so as to sense its harmonies is necessarily to develop mediumnity.

            I would even go as far as saying, through the experience of people I have met (but I'd need to see this more clearly in the activities offered), that all techniques of transcendental and oriental meditation make one medium. On this subject you'll have Fr. Verlinde's advice, who, having lived it and analysed it closely, is a specialist in this domain.

      Obviously, all occult practices presuppose mediumnity. Right from magnetism and all sorts of distance healing techniques (like Reiki) through to radiethesia, voyancy, spiritism and all kinds of magic, etc...

      One can also become medium because of having been magnetised. All paramedical practises which touch upon energies violently run the risk of making the patient medium. In this case all depends upon the person healing and the person being healed; for example, if the donor is very 'donor', or medium, and if the receiver is very receptive because they are cooperating with all their strength.

      Drugs make one medium because they violently develop one's imagination and in a non-finalised way.

      The whole world of the virtual can make one medium from the moment one makes of it an absolute, or fusions with the virtual.

      Undoubtedly we could find many more causes for mediumnity, though it seems to me that I have given the most common causes in today's world.

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4 - What are the effects of mediumnity?

      Developing mediumnity gives one powers which are natural at their starting point, but which most of the time very quickly become occult or demonical.

      These powers vary according to the sensible faculty developed. All sensible faculties being somewhat connected in the imagination, which is the synthesising faculty of sensibility, all mediums have a very developed faculty of imagination. This leads to an enormous difficulty with concentration. A medium cannot read at all because he disconnects after the first or second sentence, or on the contrary, he is so absorbed (in the sense of a certain fusion) in his reading that he can read for several hours without seeing the time pass because he is totally "in" his book. This is why we are not talking at all about concentration - which is spiritual - but about fusion.

      The imagination linked to sight gives one the power of clairvoyance. This is manifested by flash-images which the person receives, whether they seek them in the practice of clairvoyance or not. These flash-images happen without any warning! They can also correspond to reality. When they are not sought after they concern in general one's close acquaintances and are like premonitions. When they are sought after they happen by fusion with the person upon whom one is practising />
      When the cogitative is developed in a medium way, it gives one the power to sense places, objects and persons. The clairvoyant also uses it to discern.

      It seems to me that the imagination developed in mediumnity when linked with hearing gives one the power of telepathy. Hearing is indeed the faculty of sound and is made ultimately for the human word, for the human word is the most qualitative sound. We would need to search to see if the cogitative developed in mediumnity and linked to hearing does not also give one the power of premonition concerning natural disasters. For the cogitative is the faculty to sense a milieu which, for us, is the physical universe. Hearing is made for tasting nature's silence and rest. Absolute silence does not exist in nature because nature is in perpetual movement. The natural rhythm of nature is harmonious and gives out a sound specific to nature. A serious and brutal disharmony breaks this natural sound and can be perceived by a medium well in advance.

      We could thus seek other combinations of a medium nature, so to discern the different powers. It seems to me that spiritism allies the different developments of the imagination in mediumnity with the cogitative.

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5 - What discernment should we establish concerning mediumnity?

      According to the theological discernment we have established, mediumnity is directly contrary to the human person. It is a type of development of the human nature which is not finalised. Why, and in what way, can we see that it is not finalised?

      This is exactly where we come across a stumbling block. Most people of good faith think they are using their powers in the service of others. Thanks to premonitions one can warn people of catastrophes or accidents. Thanks to clairvoyance one can help people to take good decisions; thanks to magnetism one can heal people whom doctors declared incurable, etc... All the objections we hear from time to time are clear to see.

      What is the criterion for discernment? Is it the efficiency of the good one can do? On the Christian level the answer is clear and it is no. We know in fact that the devil is capable of accomplishing signs and wonders, and of making prophecies. The devil has always prophesied in the Bible. He even goes as far as driving vice to dispel demons. The Jews accused Jesus of driving out demons through Beelzebub, which proves that they had experience of that. Moreover Jesus does not say that it is not impossible. Perhaps some among us have witnessed that somebody possessed by several demons can be partly delivered by the more powerful demons driving out the less powerful ones, hoping therein to keep themselves a place, or simply doing so out of vanity. If the devil is capable of good, it is of course not a free gift, but rather for the seduction of souls among which, it must be said, most mediums are to be found.

      Can one do good at the cost of destroying a person? If mediumnity implies the destruction of the person because it prevents the development of the human nature towards person, it is surely not something good.

      Let us add that because mediumnity implies the development of the human nature against the person, the medium becomes an individual known to the devil. This is why natural medium powers rapidly transform into demonic occult powers. A medium who sees his powers suddenly increase can be sure that unfortunately he is already infested by the devil. Another criterion of demonic infestation which can go as far as possession is that the medium does not want to renounce his powers.

      « Well ordered charity begins with oneself », is not a saying but a theological conclusion. Can a blind man lead another blind man? Will they not both fall into the same hole?

      I would like to add a discernment which seems to me to be important. Is mediumnity charitable? What is the difference between a charism and mediumnity? Both manifest certain powers which seem supernatural, above all when the medium is infested and his powers have increased. A charism is not a sign of holiness and can just as well be given to a bandit as to a saint. We have examples of this in the Bible. Discernment cannot therefore be made starting from the subject who has this power, i.e. from the holiness of the individual. We must therefore say that mediumnity is a habitus, whereas a charism is not permanent. He who asserts that he has the charism of healing and that he can use it when he wants to is a medium and not a charismatic. The same goes for he who claims to have the charism of understanding, or of spirits, etc... Is it a charism or is it clairvoyance or even spiritism? It seems to me that this is a subject where a lot of confusion exists today in a certain type of Charismatic Renewal.

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6 - How can one help a medium?

      A medium infested or possessed by the devil is very difficult to deliver, for mediumnity constitutes an open door for the reason we have given: the devil knows the medium and can act upon him. We have noticed that the devil cannot reach the spiritual soul because it is created by God. On the other hand, he can reach sensibility if one's sensibility is not finalised, which is the case for a medium. The devil can therefore trick the medium in what the medium feels or senses. The medium must therefore not trust himself to his feelings.

      The first important thing is to make the medium aware of his mediumnity and explain to him what it is, so that he can understand that he must lose it and why. To do this it is good to describe all a medium's symptoms such that he recognise himself easily and give you his trust, because he will see that you are saying true things about what he is living and that you are bringing him light about phenomenon which until now no-one could explain for him.

      The second thing is to give a very simple philosophical explanation, using examples, to increase his trust in you and so that he sees that what you are saying is not intuitional or itself thanks to mediumnity, but an intelligent reflection. It is necessary to insist upon the negative effects of mediumnity and upon the impoverishing of the life of the intelligence which it involves. Every man's vitality being limited, development of mediumnity can only happen to the detriment of the life of the intelligence, whence the difficulty in concentration of which we have spoken. When one tells a medium that he must lose his mediumnity, it isn't easy for him to accept!

      The third thing is to explain how one loses one's mediumnity. Mediumnity being a habitus; one loses it by not exercising it. On the other hand, the more one exercises this habitus the more it enroots itself in the medium and the more one opens the door to the devil. That said, to lose the habitus by not exercising it anymore is not enough since the habitus of mediumnity, like all habitus, remains present in a latent fashion and all medium activity, even after a long time of abstinence, very quickly awakens the mediumnity. Another way of losing the habitus of mediumnity is to create a habitus contrary to it. I will give an example to show that this is possible. A blind man who creates the habitus of hearing and of touch could do so because his will mobilised his vitality there where he wanted it to develop. This means that the will has the capacity to orient our capital of life where it wants to. From then on, by mobilising this capital of life in the intelligence - faculty of the spiritual soul - one creates a habitus of realism. Since the capital of life is limited, the intelligence's habitus of realism happens to the detriment of the habitus of the sensible life. The intelligence is the faculty of reality. Creating this habitus happens through multiple acts of the intelligence which are acts of realism, not of reasoning! On the contrary, reasoning, where the intelligence is linked to the imagination, would run the grave risk of causing the medium to fall back into his mediumnity.

      The simplest exercise of the intelligence is presence to reality; not the consciousness of this presence but simply presence. Usually there is no effort to make to be awake thus in one's intelligence. One must above all be careful not to be absent. This is why one must identify the places where a medium will be in his mediumnity instead of being in his intelligence. These places are all ones where the medium has a tendency to be imaginatively elsewhere. When the medium fusions he is no longer present to reality. The intelligence, on the other hand, discerns that that-which-is, is. In other words, it asserts the existence of that-which-is as other than its own. To assert "this exists" is to assert that this reality has its being which is not mine. This act of the intelligence is directly contrary to the 'fusion' attitude where, on the contrary, I am one with the other reality. Fusion imaginatively removes any distance with the other reality.

      The places where realism is lost by a medium are all those places where the medium is sufficiently uninvolved in what he is doing that he can at the same time be elsewhere. This concerns all the very ordinary activities which we repeat every day. Another very common place is nature or churches; these places of which a medium is particularly fond because he is in the habit of seeking fusion there in order to recharge, sometimes without realising it. Another place is personal relationships. Since the medium attracts people in difficulty to himself and enters into fusion with them, he exercises his mediumnity. In these personal relationships he must learn to put some distance between himself and the other person: the other person is other, and I am myself; no mixing. One could say the same thing in the personal relationship with God which is prayer and especially that of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I always advise a medium to pray with his eyes open and not to shut his eyes, for shutting one's eyes makes being present difficult. On the contrary, keeping one's eyes open helps the medium to be very present in his prayer. On the other hand, to fix one's eyes on a single object for a long time also makes one lose all presence. This is why, at adoration of the Blessed Sacrament it is good to look at the Eucharist, but without fixing one's eyes on it too much, otherwise one looses all presence and one falls back into mediumnity by exercising it, therefore developing it.

      Lastly, I should point out that some demons can try to prevent one losing one's mediumnity. It would seem that these demons are called Devas. I have not been able to develop upon the relations between chakras and mediumnity, but there is a very tight correlation between the two. I have given you a philosophical view whereas chakras are a part of what we see from the point of view of Indian religions. The Devas demons act precisely upon chakras points in order to prevent the closure of the latter.

      In cases where Devas demons are present one must proceed with prayers of liberation.

      Lastly, I discourage a medium to go to Renewal groups to participate in charisms. Indeed these groups, which the Holy Spirit has given rise to, are made for catching big fish, people who are often highly charged, sometimes infested by the devil. When a medium goes to one of these groups to participate in charisms he must open himself to the influence of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately a medium does not know how to differentiate between opening oneself spiritually to the Holy Spirit and opening oneself as a medium. What's more I am not sure that concretely one can only open one's spiritual life without also opening oneself sensibly. A medium who opens his mediumnity can therefore receive the demons which are present by the other 'charged' people who have come to the prayer. One must be aware of the fact that to participate in charisms one must be very finalised in one's personal being. I have seen cases, unfortunately, where mediums, or people with medium tendencies, were caught by the devil in Renewal groups.

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      Mediumnity is definitely very widespread today. Looking at creation from the point of view of wisdom shows us immediately that mediumnity is contrary to God's intentions for the human person. God created the spiritual soul so that man might thereby govern, for it is through the spiritual soul that man can discover and meet his God. To dangle before man's eyes the powers which mediumnity gives, under the pretext of philanthropy, would seem rather perverse, would it not? Our culture of the virtual, where young people are submitted to information technology and to video games in an intense way, develops mediumnity for the virtual thus intervenes precisely at the age when one would usually develop one's intelligence. The intelligence is thus prevented from developing by this cult of the virtual.

      Childhood wounds, which are multiplying today because of broken couples, often develop mediumnity for suffering makes one turn in on oneself and one's sensibility.

      Para-medicine based upon manipulation of energies develops mediumnity just as much in those who practise these treatments as in those who 'benefit' from them!

      The trick used is to convince the person that mediumnity gives access to an authentic mystical life! Is this not the lie which comes from the father of lies, from he who is homicide since the very beginning?

      I ask myself if we are not looking here, through mediumnity, at a demonic caricature of the royal priesthood of the faithful. Priesthood is mediation at the spiritual level which we can all exercise thanks to charity which is a habitus. Is not a non-finalised mediation at the level of hyper-sensibility a demonic caricature? We know that the devil caricatures everything God does; one only has to read the Apocalypse to realise it. Let us not forget that the devil lead Adam and Eve to fall through the exercise of a false fraternal charity. It concerned salvation, i.e. becoming like gods by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil through a purely human act and not a supernatural one: picking the fruit from the tree.

Père Paul-Marie de Mauroy, c.s.j      

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