“My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare. Never trust in yourself, but abandon yourself totally to My will. …I will not delude you with prospects of peace and consolations; on the contrary, prepare for great battles. Know that you are now on a great stage where all heaven and earth are watching you. Fight like a knight, so that I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful because you are not alone.” (Diary 1760)
In reading the lives of the saints we discover that many endured diabolical attacks. The above quotation from St. Faustina’s Diary was the inspiration for a chapter on spiritual warfare in “God’s Healing Mercy” book. The words of Christ to St. Faustina are perpetually relevant and worthy of reflection.
Why does the God of mercy ordain a spiritual battle for His people on earth? Christ’s words to St. Faustina lend understanding: “But child, you are not yet in your homeland; so go, fortified by My grace, and fight for My kingdom in human souls; fight as a king’s child would, and remember the days of your exile will pass quickly, and with them the possibility of earning merit for heaven. I expect from you, My child, a great number of souls who will glorify my mercy for all eternity” (Diary 1489). Christ’s lesson applies to all believers: a greater number of souls will eternally glorify The Divine Mercy because they received mercy in the way that David did in the defeat of Goliath (cf. 1 Sam. 17). (God’s Healing Mercy, pg. 113)
Not only Satanists engage in spiritual warfare. St. Paul exhorts all, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (6:10-14).
Recently on a popular secular news radio program, during a panel discussion on current affairs, someone referred to the devil. Immediately another panelist responded forcefully, “There is no devil!” Must a Catholic believe in the devil?
CCC 414. Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.
CCC 391. Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church’s Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”. The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.”
People from all backgrounds and faiths turn to the Catholic Church, namely our clergy, when they need liberation from diabolical suffering. Even those who enter into diabolical practices willing, often come to the point of seeking liberation from the assaults of Satan and his cohorts who seduce with empty promises and then torment the person in mockery.
Jesus Christ is the chief exorcist. His healing and deliverance ministry continues throughout the ages. The Catholic Church has an arsenal of sacraments and sacramentals to serve the people in need of deliverance. The clergy do the heavy lifting in the healing and deliverance ministry because they have the God-given authority to cast out evil spirits.
For the care of God’s beloved people, usually diocesan protocols are established, taking into account the best holistic outcome for healing. Deliverance and exorcism ministry is a collaborative work between clergy and health professionals, intercessors, discerners, and other team helpers. Like a medical physician who must diagnosis a condition, the priest must discern the manifestations. They must consider medical, psychiatric, and diabolical components. We cannot compartmentalize a person. Prudence, prayer, patience, and perseverance are necessary for the afflicted person, the priest and his team.
Often I have the task of speaking and praying with diabolically afflicted persons since I serve clergy in the ministry of deliverance and exorcism. I prayerfully walk with the suffering as they journey toward healing. Recently when I shared suggested prayers with someone awaiting their appointment with the priest and team, it occurred to me that perhaps such prayers would be a resource for our readers.
St. John Chrysostom’s Deliverance Prayer
O, Eternal God, You who have redeemed the race of men from the captivity of the Devil, deliver me, Your servant, from all the workings of unclean spirits. Command the evil and impure spirits and demons to depart from the soul and body of Your servant and not to remain nor hide in me. Let them be banished from me, the creation of Your hands, in Your own holy name, and that of Your only-begotten Son, and of Your life-creating Spirit, so that, after being cleansed from all demonic influence, I may live godly, justly, and righteously and may be counted worthy to receive the Holy Mysteries of Your only-begotten Son and our God, with whom You are blessed and glorified, together with the all-holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
(Beckman, God’s Healing Mercy, pg. 119)
Come Holy Spirit with Thy seven-fold gifts and anoint us with Thy divine light, wisdom and power. Come Lord Jesus Christ and anoint us with Thy Precious Blood, freeing us from every snare and stronghold of the principalities and powers of darkness. O Mother of God, glorious and immaculate and ever Virgin Mary, come and crush the head of the ancient serpent. O great father, St. Joseph, terror of demons, come and annihilate the enemies of our souls. St. Michael, great prince and commander of the heavenly army, strike down the insidious foes who seek to destroy us. Come glorious band of Apostles, come great patriarchs and prophets; come white robed army of martyrs, come pure and noble throng of virgins. Come to our aid St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, St. Elijah, St. Elisha, St. John the Baptist, St. Therese, all you Saints of Carmel, St. Pio, St. Isaac Jogues and companions. St. Faustina, St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Anthony, St. Claire, our Guardian Angels. Archangels, and all you Holy Angels and Saints, come repulse the attacks and deceits of our wicked enemies; render them impotent and helpless. Let God arise; let his enemies be scattered and all those who hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so are they driven away; as wax melts before the fire, so the wicked perish at the presence of God.
A Personal Prayer of Deliverance
Lord, almighty, merciful and omnipotent God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, drive out from me all influence of evil spirits. Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I plead you to break any chain that the Devil has on me. Pour upon me the Most Precious Blood of your Son. May His immaculate and redeeming blood break all bounds of my body and mind. I ask you this through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Archangel St. Michael, intercede and come to my help. In the name of Jesus I command all demons that could have any influence over me to leave forever. By His scourging, His crown of thorns, His cross, by His blood and resurrection, I command all evil spirits to leave me. By the true God, by the Holy God, by God who can do all, in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord, leave me. Amen. (Approved for the personal use of laity: Bishop Julian Porteous)
Prayer for Inner Healing
Lord Jesus, you came to heal our wounded and troubled hearts. I beg you to heal the torments that cause anxiety in my heart. I beg you, in a particular way, to heal all who are the cause of sin. I beg you to come into my life and heal of the psychological harms that struck me in my early years and from the injuries that they caused throughout my life. Lord Jesus, you know my burdens. I lay them all on your Good Shepherd’s heart. I beseech you—by the merits of the great, open wound in your heart—to heal the small wounds that are in mine. Heal the pain of my memories, so that nothing that has happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety. Heal, O Lord, all those wounds that have been the cause of the evil that is rooted in my life. I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make be unable to forgive. You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart, please, heal my own heart. Heal, my Lord Jesus, those intimate wounds that cause me physical illness. I offer you my heart, accept it Lord, purify it and give me the sentiments of your Divine Heart. Help me to be meek and humble. Heal me, O Lord, from all that is oppressing me. Grant me to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that you are the Resurrection and the Life. Make me an authentic witness to your resurrection, your victory over sin and death. Amen. (Approved for the personal use of laity: Bishop Julian Porteous)