Sense of Life. Articles in English. Jesus Triumphs over Evil.
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Jesus Triumphs over Evil


It was an experience I will remember to my dying day. It occurred on the last day of a weeklong retreat for young men. I wanted our final gathering to be an occasion for each of us to rid himself of a sin.

Earlier that day, we had been hiking in the mountains, and I had said to them: Everybody pick up a stone. It will represent what separates us from Jesus, a symbol of something that stands between us and a full understanding of Him. Tonight, during our final prayers, we will set them down in the chapel. Perhaps this way we will leave at least one of our sins behind.

It was now late evening on the eve of the Epiphany. I was praying with the boys in front of the Holy Sacrament. There were twenty of them, mostly high school students in their senior year. Wondering what future lay ahead of them, I prayed for them in silence: Jesus, watch over them. Holy Spirit, guide them, provide them with your gifts of wisdom, counsel, fortitude, as well as skills... Suddenly, a piercing scream broke the silence of our meditation. I heard the sound of a stone hitting the wall behind the altar, followed by the words: “Missed again, I always miss Him!”

I turned and saw Arthur bent over by the wall, his body writhing in terrible convulsions, a horrible grimace on his face. I went up to him. As I bent down, he hissed at me: “Get away or I’ll kill you”. He ran to the window. I thought he was going to jump out, and became alarmed because the chapel was on the fourth floor. I am not an exorcist, but I immediately knew what had taken control of Arthur’s body.

“Let’s pray, let’s pray together”. It was the first thought that came to mind. “Pray!” I shouted to the boys. But it had already crossed their minds too. Instinctively, they joined hands and started praying, with one voice, almost shouting: “Our Father who are in Heaven...” I grabbed Arthur and pushed him down hard on the floor. He was squirming in every direction. Soon realizing that he was too strong for me to handle, I asked the boys for help. As Jack came up, we heard the following menacing words, which were clearly meant deter him: I know you, I know your sins, I know your past, and you’ll be ashamed. I can’t let this happen, I thought, and stopped Arthur’s mouth with my hand. Moments later, on removing my hand, I heard the most appalling oaths and blasphemies imaginable being shouted at God the Father, Jesus, Our Lady, and the Pope. The horrible utterances stood in stark relief to the other boys’ collective prayer. We were all bunched in a group. Only Peter stood some distance away. Arthur turned toward him and looked into his eyes. The look sent Peter flying a good few yards. Terrified, he tried to leave the chapel, but one of the boys stopped him. After that, we formed a circle and prayed on. Taking the relics of St. Faustina, St. Francis of Assisi and Honoratus Kozminski from the altar, I placed them close to the stricken boy’s face.

We heard a roar, more curses, laughter and then a question dripping with demonic sarcasm: “Is that all you can think of? Can’t you find a better way of exorcism?”

 Arthur’s body began to shake more and more. “Give me half an hour and you will see how many of them will stay with you,” he said to me. “Who are you? What is your name?” I asked. “I won’t tell you.” “I order you to leave Arthur’s body.” “All right, but I’ll only enter somebody else’s.” “What is your name?” I repeated. “Beelzebub,” came the answer. “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you, Beelzebub, to leave Arthur’s body.” “There are many of us,” he answered. I recalled all I knew about Arthur, all the problems he had been facing, then started naming these problems aloud, one by one, treating them as evil spirits. I ordered them to depart from Arthur’s body, all the while making signs of the cross with the Holy Sacrament in the monstrance. When Arthur became a little calmer, I asked him to repeat after me. “Jesus is my Lord. Say it, Arthur! Jesus is my Lord...” His body squirmed. He trembled visibly, but one could see that the evil powers were losing strength. Finally, he whispered in a very low voice. “Jesus is my Lord.” He repeated once more: “Jesus is my Lord.” The other boys sang out, “Christ triumphs...” I felt a surge of enormous joy. But Arthur whispered to me: “Father, there’s still another one...” The struggle began anew. Suddenly Arthur’s gaze became fixed on one point. “Our Lady’s here” – he said. I shouted to the boys, “Quick, pray to Our Lady,” and we began reciting the Hail Mary. After a few minutes of this, Arthur became quieter. Still, there was something about him that told me to be careful. I thought of other ways of setting him free. As if reading my mind, he told me he did not want to be delivered of the last evil spirit, because this one was responsible for all his knowledge. But I was not prepared to give up. I pushed the monstrance hard into his face and ordered the spirit to depart from Arthur’s body. “Say, The Virgin Mary is my Queen’,” I told Arthur. I cannot remember how many times I repeated these words. I thought that an act of devotion to Our Lady would deliver him from the possession. After finally uttering these words, he calmed down altogether. “It’s all over” – he said like one utterly exhausted. We picked him up and started praying together. Once again we placed our trust in Jesus and Our Lady. The boys prayed with great devotion. Some of them cried. Clearly, the whole experience had moved them deeply. Yet despite the calm and silence, I could not concentrate on the prayer. I was worried about the boys. “Where has the evil spirit gone?” I wondered. I suddenly felt moved by the Holy Spirit to have the boys touch the monstrance. They did so, all of them. It was then that a sense of indescribable joy and relief washed over us all. We hugged each other and cried for joy. God’s love seemed to fill us to overflowing. At that point, the paramedics, whom we had called earlier, arrived on the scene. They were shocked to see us – a priest and twenty boys crying, hugging and laughing by turns.

On leaving the chapel, I once again asked Arthur if he knew where the evil spirit had gone. He pointed to the stones. That same night we dumped the stones in trash cans near the graveyard. Despite his terrible exhaustion and pain, Arthur was the first to make his confession that night. The next morning, smiling joyfully, he greeted us with a cheerful Praised be the Lord Jesus Christ! I could not help wondering why the demon had possessed Arthur. As I accompanied him to his home, I asked him directly: “How did it happen?” He told me his story. For a long time he had lived believing that God had abandoned him, that He no longer loved him. One day, when he was alone in his room, he became conscious of a presence around him. In fact, he had sensed this presence for quite some time. It was then that Arthur made his ill-fated decision. He removed the crucifix from around his neck and surrendered himself to the evil spirit, which then became his guide through life, his one master. I had not given it much thought before, but I now realize that as more people alienate themselves from God, demonic possession becomes more and more common. By rejecting God’s love, people open themselves up to the power of evil spirits. An exorcist recently told me: “I come across so many cases of possession that I couldn’t deal with them even if I worked 24 hours a day the year round.”

I had known Arthur for some time. He was, as they say, “the life and soul of the party”. His friends looked up to him because of his uncanny intuition and prodigious memory. He could talk for hours, give people advice and solve difficult problems. How could he do all this? I know now that this power came from the evil spirit. If Arthur had not been cured of possession, he might very well have become a clairvoyant or a New Age therapist. After returning home from the retreat, Arthur consulted a psychologist and psychiatrist. They found no evidence of anomalies and referred him to an exorcist. During the exorcism sessions, the evil spirit talked to the priest in Latin and Hebrew. Arthur still has a couple of sessions left, but he will soon be a free man. The night the whole thing happened, Arthur told me he was not going to sleep in his room because there was a pentagram painted on the wall.

I now know that Satan takes possession of places and objects that have been used to commit a sin. When we commit a sin in a certain place, or with a certain object, we put these things under Satan’s control, just as consecrating a place or object puts them under God’s control. We ought frequently to dedicate the places we inhabit to God. There is much wisdom in the Church’s teaching that we bless our houses at least once a year. I could never understand why my aunt used to trace a cross over the door frame with a candle on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

I know now why we mark our door frames with holy chalk and why we hang crucifixes over the door. We ought to remember that crosses and holy pictures are there to protect us against evil spirits. The absence of holy water fonts and relics in our “domestic churches” is something to be regretted.

When we accept these sacraments as gifts intended for our protection, we underscore the depth of God’s humiliation of Satan. Satan is forced to obey all those who act in the name of Jesus.

 

Fr. Marek JarzД…bek S.Chr.

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!"

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