Included among the suggestions for protection given by Father Michael McDonagh: blessing the house, sprinkling holy water, the presence of the Crucifix and statues of Our Lady, as well as frequenting the Sacraments.
Newsdesk (July 27, 2021 2:05 PM, Gaudium Press) – Irish priest Michael McDonagh, appointed exorcist of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Israel and the Palestinian territories by Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, commented on his office.
He often travels throughout the region, attending to people who need him, analyzing each case, blessing, praying, and conducting exorcisms on people possessed by the devil when necessary. His weapons are the Rite of Exorcism, the blessed water and salt and the prayers of healing and deliverance.
The workings of the devil in today’s world
Father McDonagh states with a warning that some people, instead of seeking help from an exorcist, seek out sheiks, shamans or sorcerers, who attempt to take advantage of the good faith of the people by claiming to be able to cast out demons in the Holy Land.
According to the Official Exorcist of the Holy Land, those who seek this kind of help are placed in a realm contrary to the Kingdom of Christ: “Sheiks, shamans and sorcerers obtain their power from the world of spirits, and receive from them the dark power of precise knowledge and skills. The danger is to expose yourself to the kingdom of darkness by submitting to such people.”
In dealing with the action of the devil in today’s world, the Irish exorcist describes a demonic influence as everything that “…concerns or characterizes the devil”, and comprises the, “…especially perverse and cruel appropriation carried out by a demon. It is a power that affects a person, place, thing or event”.
Ordinary and extraordinary demonic activities
The Catholic Church teaches that there are two categories of demonic activity: ordinary and extraordinary. The exorcist explains that “Ordinary diabolical activity is usually associated with temptation and is a life-long battle. This temptation, of which anyone can become a victim, is extremely serious when it leads to mortal sin and, as such, should not be treated lightly”.
According to Father McDonagh, “the vast majority of cases of extraordinary diabolical activity begin as ordinary diabolical activity.” Indeed, he points out that extraordinary diabolical activity is given that title not only because it is rare but because it is out of the ordinary.
“In extraordinary diabolical activity, Satan can take complete possession of a person’s body – though not the soul. Satan speaks and acts without the knowledge or consent of the victim, who is therefore morally blameless,” he stresses.
Advice to protect oneself from the devil
The exorcist of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem for Israel further explained that “the best protection against the devil are prayer and the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist – nothing destroys the demonic influence with more force than the worthy reception of the Body of Christ while acting well by living a spiritual life.
Furthermore, “People who perform any work or face a specific danger related to the demonic field can use the invocation of St. Michael the Archangel, which is highly effective. They can also ask their Guardian Angel or God directly for protection.”
The importance of blessing homes and attending the Sacrament of Penance
Finally, Father McDonagh advises that houses be blessed and that the owner or tenant should sprinkle holy water – water made holy by the Prayer of Exorcism and the blessing of salt and water, taken from the ancient Roman Ritual, or holy water from the Feast of the Epiphany – and to also have blessed Crucifixes and images of the Blessed Mother, etc., in their homes.”
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is also very important, for it “…is especially powerful in repelling demons precisely because, through it, the recipients of the Sacrament are actually forgiven of their sins. In addition, they receive sanctifying grace that can be helpful in avoiding sin in the future.”
“A person who receives the Sacrament frequently will be better strengthened against demonic attacks. Those who do not attend the Sacrament or go infrequently and without enthusiasm will be more subject to demonic activity,” he warns.
According to the exorcist, “To participate in the Sacrament of Penance is also to participate in the fight against evil, in the sense that by receiving this Sacrament regularly, the person demonstrates the commitment to live with and for Christ. Therefore, this person is strengthened by Christ himself, and is therefore much more capable of rejecting the demonic,” he concluded. (EPC)
Compiled by Sandra Chisholm