Army of Heaven
“When being tempted, why did some lose, ceding the battle, rather than pressing on?” “Jesus Christ came to heal those oppressed by the devil”.
This meditation in part summarizes a talk given by Fr. Chad Ripperger FSSP, which can be heard in its entirety at http://www.sensustraditionis.org/multimedia.html/. Through his work as an exorcist, Fr. Ripperger has much to share about demons and how they are dealt with. Evident in the Gospels, demons know the God of Truth and cannot refuse to divulge or abandon their tactics when pressed in the name of Christ.
Appropriation means “to take ownership”. In disappropriation, the afflicted moves into a position of confidence by ‘disowning’ what does not belong to him, in the name of Jesus. It is related to renouncing and rebuking an unclean spirit, but goes farther. The power is made efficacious by Christ’s name and Most Holy blood, wielded with faith, and moves us toward the audacity of self-mastery by the Savior’s grace.
A recovering addict often experiences spiritual attacks. Demons, attracted to internal wounds, want to set up abusive relationships with their hosts.
Fr. Ripperger explains that abuse is two-fold, starting with the assault of negativities, of which there are hundreds. Demons try to needle the subject about his “intractable disorder” or “never healing” brokenness, causing complicating wounds of pain, confusion, doubt, and self-loathing. The second oppression exploits the wounds of abuse the demons cause, picking at them, to increase despair and discouragement in their subject. Satan is the father of lies. Demons are liars trying to get us to ‘own’ their abuse, their lies.
A deliverance prayer is one in which a human ‘target’, tormented by internal voices, images, or, otherwise inexplicably persistent spiritual, emotional, or psychological symptoms, invokes the name of Jesus, with prayer and fasting, in order to silence the source of attack - the unclean or demonic spirit. Deliverance prayer takes many forms.
In deliverance prayer we stand in the power of Christ using the sword of his name. Fr. R. counsels, we do not address the abuse, but address the abuser. When clear patterns of oppression occur, we reassert our rights over demons: “In the name of Jesus, [___this evil___] is your problem Satan, not mine.” Fill in the blank: stupidity, unholy arousal, helplessness, fear, lust, sensuality, perversion, disordered passions, obsession, intoxication, confusion, filth, the dead past, self harm, inordinate vulnerability, carelessness, dullness, depression, despair, tiredness, fatigue, sickness, unholy images, unholy thoughts, unholy desires..
So why is this simple assertion effective? Because revelation is in the truth of God! Demons cannot deny the truth of what they try to do. A demon has no defense against this claiming of our rights over them, willed by God. The power of Christ’s name and Most Holy Blood is the enforcer.
Now what if harassment persists? What is going on when evil voices return? They are not driven out because they can hide behind unforgiveness or unrepented sins or lingering love for sin. We can eventually make the command and at the same time visually separate the problem from ourselves and place it onto the demon. To do this, there must be detachment from the thing unloaded.
If we do not detach ourselves from sin, oppression will continue. How do we detach? The Father permits temptation so that we can turn away from it to overcome the inclination to the sin – in short, being a man.
Temptation is also an opportunity to accomplish the deposing of Satan. We do not do the deposing, Christ Jesus does, through which our determined desire begs the divine victory. Temptation is necessary as an opportunity to display resistance and aversion for the thing we kept choosing before. Our detachment is to walk in the opposite direction of sin: to pray, or to do good, and often both.
Praying for healing from deep attachment to intoxication is thus a wise option. We can also pray for the grace of forgetfulness, to be severed from the memory of unholy pleasures, from the memories of sin and all of the psychological scar tissue associated with the sinful past.
The Devil is not responsible for all of the trouble. But what is left after disappropriation, is what actually belongs to us, which is called vice, which can be dealt with through acts of virtue.
It is a blessing to learn of the recently launched (2012) prayer apostolate called the Auxilium Christianorum (AC). The association prays principally for the efficacious work of priests driving out demons. But it also prays for the faithful seeking refuge from demons on a daily basis. Like the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, the AC prays together for one aim - safety from adverse effects of demonic oppression. The group has ministering priests, who pray for all of its members and invites those members to pray with them daily in a set script of powerful and focused prayers, including prayers proper to each day of the week. There is no installation rite, just simply begin the prayers and continue them every day and you are a member.
It maintains a list of ten commitments and of these commitments, number three is particularly notable, which testifies that regular Christian meditation, or mental prayer, is essential for overcoming demonic harassment. See The Ways of Mental Prayer by Vital Lehodey.
“Intellectual and volitional reflection on the perfections of God” are also accomplished by lectio divina. This idea was advanced by St Thomas Aquinas and amplified in our day by Fr Chad Ripperger (see Introduction to the Science of Mental Health) who observes that learning, reading, studying, filling one’s mind up with doctrine, illumination, wisdom and virtue knowledge both occupies “our house” and makes it uninviting to demons.
It has been said that we may have to force ourselves to read at times, to continue to receive formation, to be more filled with the Holy Spirit, with understanding, with the power of reason. By this work, we are really cultivating our higher self at the expense of the lower.
Given the spiritual state of the world, which includes ever greater contact with the unclean through many doors being blindly opened, this kind of prayer is prudent since we are also warned that progress in the Christian journey will make us ‘juicier’ targets for corruption. Information and the prayers of the group can be found here: http://www.auxiliumchristianorum.org/.
Holy God, we thank you for these helps in our time, in our journey into the fullness of who You will us to be, our perfection and our good, bless us with unbending resolve to practice our Christian faith in every way that perpetually drives out the unclean. Through Jesus we pray Amen.