Monday, May 16, 2011

'They are not innocents selected at random by passing demons. Most have made a deal with the Devil. Only later do they become aware of the Devil's asking price.'
_Father Malachi Martin

For some reason I have always had a most sensitive fear concerning those strong, spiritual beings that chose to hate the Good, True, and Beautiful. To be reassured as to what they can and cannot do is why an impressionable teenager was allowed by her mother to read parts of a work on exorcism, Malachi Martin's Hostage to the Devil. What set this account apart is that, even though he is a talented and bewitching author, Father Malachy does not write in a lurid or sensational fashion concerning battles with the demons. In fact, it was because of this committment to speak the truth for God's sake and not for Mammon's, that he refused David Berkowitz's offer to write that monster's biography--forever sealing that particular portal of evil into the realm of man.

There is a lesson in that refusal which every writer should heed. When it comes to evil, one should not say enough to fascinate readers with the glamour of thrills and danger that prompt so many to watch horrific films or read frightening books. Yet, for the sake of the sceptical who possess a healthy immunity to the morbid fascination of incubi and succubi, occasionally a word should be dropped to ripple their apathy.

Yesterday was a beautiful day--the weather's masters tinting the spring foliage deep green against pewter skies, spraying everything with the gloss of a gentle rain, and studding every roadside or path with blossoms of lilac of every hue, from ruddy violet to icy lavender to pearl white. I was on my way to an afternoon Mass in a village outside of Warsaw. I was entering the church by the back door, having just dipped my fingers in holy water, and was adjusting my veil in the vestibule before the sacristy when I heard a harsh, shrill scream coming from within the church.

I stood in shock; a flurry of possibilities suggested themselves to me, when I heard another scream, this one in intelligible German. I turned and the parish priest beckoned to me from the sacristy. I was informed that Mass would begin in half an hour at the usual time, but at the present moment, an exorcism was taking place.

I hastily went outside to wait, standing at the back of the church, as near to the tabernacle as I could be, and began my prayers. It is my usual wont to think of Christ in the tabernacle as the vulnerable Lover. That day, I saw Him as the commanding Lord. Disturbed as I was, it was impossible to fear in that situation, which only revealed how impotent evil is against the Holy of holies. Glancing at the lustrous leaves of the wet lilac bushes, and inhaling the flowers' scent, I remembered that this was His world--even this world of matter. And it is this realm, as well as that of Heaven, that the serpent hates.

When the patients of the exorcist left (they had of course come of their own accord and asked for the exorcisms themselves) the exorcist himself was exhausted. At Mass, the congregation was asked to offer their Communions up for the ongoing effort of freeing the two people that had come to the church for help.

If you can spare a prayer, remember that an exorcist is always in need. After two heart attacks, Father Malachi Martin had this to say of such holy work:

'Every exorcism takes something out of you that cannot be put back. The demon goes, but it carries a part of you away with it. A little of the exorcist dies each time. It's a permanent mental fight against a powerful, dangerous enemy.'

Let us all remember in our daily toils and pains, which all too often render existence rather mundane, that in many places on this globe, a consecrated man enters into a very dark place, and for the sake of one who has thrown so many graces away, offers himself--trusting in God's protection--as hostage to the Devil.


sdcojai said...

I'm delighted to see that you've started a blog, Rachel. A victory for beauty and truth, right there.

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Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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