19.

At that time, Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb; and when He had cast out the devil, the dumb man spoke. And the crowds marveled. But some of them said, By Beelzebub, the prince of devils, He casts out devils. And others, to test Him, demanded from Him a sign from heaven. But He, seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and house will fall upon house. If, then, Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. Now, if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When the strong man, fully armed, guards his courtyard, his property is undisturbed. But if a stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he will take away all his weapons that he relied upon, and will divide his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he roams through waterless places in search of rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house which I left.’ And when he has come to it, he finds the place swept. Then he goes and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse that the first. Now it came to pass as He was saying these things, that a certain woman from the crowd lifted up her voice and said to Him, Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts that nursed You. But He said, Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.

Luke 11:14-28

I don’t know when or if I opened a door. It could’ve been on any number of occasions in my life. There were two moments that jump as possible–both times, I saw something supernatural, both times it interacted me in a waking state; but a door opening to the demonic doesn’t and usually isn’t anything that grandiose.

Before the obsession began, I was unaware of anything unusual, anything out of the ordinary. One day, while I was cleaning, I just broke down crying. There was no reason. It wasn’t a need to rebel, or to act out. It just happened.

I lost control.

For almost three years, I struggled to try and explain what I later understood to be a demonic oppression. The grief, the anguish, the pain that I was experiencing was food for those that oppressed me. At one point, desperate to find an explanation to what was going on, I reached out to the conspiracy world and called my experiences the results of alien abduction–because people believed that, because that was consistent with the experiences an the suffering.

I had dreams as real as life where I saw creatures putting instruments against the back of my spine.

My eyes were raw from the tears. My voice was hoarse. I would go to bed at night and beg God to not let me dream, and if I dreamed, to let me forget before morning what I’d dreamed. Everything around me was black–was dark.

I can’t remember a day during those three years where I was happy. I was lonely. Desperately lonely.

People around me, the people who mattered most, didn’t understand what was going on. It was just another way that I was letting them down–forcing them to have to cover for me. They called it a delayed temper tantrum experience because I missed out on in early on in life.

I remember nights where I’d get home from work, physically exhausted, crying, screaming out in my agony asking why God was letting this happen. At times, I’d cry out to Jesus and ask Him to unite my suffering with His.

My relationship with my family suffered. I shut my mother out of my life. It crushed us both. I got into fist fights with my brother, one such fight gave us both bruised, maybe even broken ribs.

It came to me as whispers, subtle quiet words that came and urged me to give up, to look at what was on my plate as more than I could handle.

And then, one night, it all stopped.

I was put into a position that I needed to deeply, passionately, consider the existence of God. In that night of meditating, questioning, the door closed to the demonic and the light of God entered into my life.

No one around me believed me, of course. They were so used to me being the one who couldn’t work, the one who made them have to cover.

I didn’t believe it. Waking every morning to sunshine, to joy–then returning to university to study philosophy, the study that had saved me from the Devil. After a year, moving on from study, being called back to my vocation in desperation–then finding it, then grabbing hold.

It was only then, three days before my profession of vows, that the Devil came back. The doubt, the confusion, all the old tricks that he’d used before were there. Yet, something was different. The despair was present, but it didn’t hold me back, it just slowed me down. I remember the bishop, forcefully saying to me, “Swear before the Blessed Sacrament!” and being shook for a moment, like Jesus reached down and pulled me up from my knees.

Again, right before my ordination, the same doubt, the same despair. It also passed–fled.

The Demonic is very, very relevant to us that are undertaking the Lenten journey. Temptations will come to us at this time in more subtle ways, perhaps more direct ways. It’s at these times that we have to run to the welcoming arms of our Blessed Mother, go to confession, fast, be charitable, spend time in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, go to Mass, say Mass, pray. While my experience is nothing as dramatic as Saint Pio’s, most of our experiences won’t be. The Demonic is lazy. It want’s us to do all the work, tries to convince us of the trade off. We fortify ourselves with prayer, with the sacraments.

The closer we approach Good Friday, the more resolved we must be to rest under God’s wings.

Christ’s Passion will be our Passion.

His death, our death.

His resurrection, our resurrection.

19.

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