6 Examples of How to Recognize Evil in our Lives
It is common in our day-in-age to dismiss anything as supernatural when it comes to the diagnosis of certain problematic aspects of our lives. In our scientific and technological age any mention of things diabolical (especially as the root cause of anything) almost immediately gets cast aside as something fantasy or as medieval superstition. We live in a era which views itself as “beyond” the primitive thinking of our ancestors and consequently, the reality of a real existing evil residing among us is ignored and the whole shape and sphere of humanity suffers and wonders what happened. True solutions are ignored in place of an “I don’t care because I’m going to do what I feel like doing because it’s my right” mentality. It’s only a matter of time before we collapse and the rug is completely pulled from underneath us and by then it will be too late.
Furthermore, we live in the most educated, most affluent, most technical society in human history. We live in a society which offers “happiness” at the touch of button. Theoretically speaking we ought to be the most civil and most content society the world has ever known. After all, isn’t the mother of invention to make life simpler and less chaotic? Yet, we also live in a society which has the most suicides, the most drug and alcohol addicts, the most crime, the most health issues, a society preoccupied and obsessed with sex, where more than half of the people are on pain killers and anti-depressants. Something is not right.
Plain logic and reason tell us that there’s more than what we see going on here that we simply don’t want to consider. But we must. Far too many lives are being destroyed because of an unawareness (or disbelief) that there is a real evil among us. Everything has been reduced to mere psychological disorders or problematic temperaments. The last place most people look to find the solution to their problems is the Church. To make it simple, you take God out of society or place Him on the shelf in the name of the “progress” of humanity you’re asking for disaster.
In an attempt to bring about awareness of the reality of this evil and uncover its stronghold it has upon us I am using the expertise of Fr. Gabriele Amorth. Fr. Amorth is the former Chief Exorcist of Rome who has dealt with the demonic for many decades and ministered to literally tens of thousands of people throughout the world who have been tormented by the evil spirits who exist among us. In his book, “An Exorcist: More Stories” (2002 Ignatius Press) Father gives us a breakdown of the symptoms of the activity of the demonic.
Fr. Amorth is by no means naive about the psychological causes of aberrant behavior, his work as an exorcist is not a form of psychotherapy. It is a spiritual ministry. He has been very successful in helping a wide range of persons with acute disturbances quite beyond the scope of clinical diagnosis. He raises the issue of the diabolical, which almost always gets a response of ill-informed prejudice. He makes us think.(1)
To begin with, the universally accepted subdivision of satanic activity is the following:
1) The demon operates an ordinary activity, temptation to sin;
2) And in an extraordinary activity, which includes the entire range of evil disturbances, of various degrees of seriousness and nature.
Here I will not be dealing with ordinary activity: temptation. Lets just say that everyone is a victim of this activity; in fact, Jesus Himself accepted to undergo this trial. Demonic temptation, coupled with the original wound of our nature and the occasions offered by the world, is a battlefield in which we can earn great merit. This first goal, overcoming temptation, is not really disconnected from the second: prevention and healing of the ills that Satan causes through his extraordinary activity. (2)
Satan’s extraordinary activity has been subdivided into six categories. The boundries between one category and another are not clear-cut, because there is a lot of mingling and compounding of symptoms:
1 – EXTERNAL PAIN
This deals strictly with physical suffering. This includes the beatings, scourgings, and injuries caused by inexplainable pushing, falling objects, and so on, that we read about in the lives of so many saints, such as St. John Vianney, St. Paul of the Cross, and St. Padre Pio. These occurrences are not as rare as we may think, and the demon’s activity is usually confined to external activity; internal activity, if any, is only temporary and limited to the duration of a particular disturbance. People may suffer from internal pain which cannot be diagnosed by doctors or relieved by medication.
2 – DIABOLIC POSSESSION
This is the gravest form of demonic activity, which allows a continuous presence of a demon in a human body. The evil symptoms do not have to be continuous but can alternate between periods of crisis and periods of rest. Possession implies intervals of temporary suspension of mental, intellectual, affective, and volitive faculties. Symptoms can include the knowledge of languages unknown to the victim, superhuman strength, and the ability to know the occult or someone else’s thoughts. Typically, there is an aversion to anything sacred, often in the company of blasphemy. There are also frauds who pose as demoniacs; therefore, we need to be extremely wary.
3 – DIABOLIC OPPRESSION
A random discomfort. We must remember that symptoms and gravity differ greatly case-by-case. This oppression can strike health, job, affections, relationships with others, and so on. Its symptoms include unexplainable rages and a tendency to complete isolation. Oppression can affect both individuals and groups (even very large groups). It is a heavy weight carried with no plausible cause or explanation.
4. DIABOLIC OBSESSION
This causes an almost split personality in people. Our will remains free, but it is oppressed by obessive thoughts. The victim experiences thoughts that may be rationally absured but of such a nature that he is unable to free himself. The obsessed person lives in a perpetual state of prostration, with persistent temptations to suicide. We must be aware that the temptation to commit suicide is also present in diabolic possession and diabolic oppression as well.
5 – DIABOLIC INFESTATION
In this case, the malefic (intent to do evil, a spell) activity is directed towards places (houses, offices, stores, fields), objects (cars, pillows, mattresses, dolls) and animals, therefore it only indirectly affects man. This is when harm is intended towards something other than a person in order to do harm to those whom are associated with them.
6 – DIABOLIC SUBJUGATION
This means a voluntary pact – implicit or explicit – with Satan, by which we submit to the lordship of the demon. There are also involuntary ties with the evil one; these cases fall into the preceding catagories, especially the most severe: possession.With the intent bent on obtaining power, riches, respect from all others, people implicitly or explicitly cooperate with demons and take whatever means necessary to achieve their goal in mind.
Now, the question is asked as to how we fall into these extraordinary evils?
There can be four principle causes:
1 – PURE DIVINE PERMISSION
Clearly, nothing happens without divine permission, but God never wills evil, suffering, or temptation. He gives us freedom and allows the existence of evil, but knows how to turn it into good. When He gives the demon His permission to torment us, He does so to strengthen us in virtue, as in the Biblical example of Job, as well as of many blessed and saints. We must keep in mind that diabolical harassment in itself has nothing to do with the state of grace of its victims.
2 – SUBJECTION TO A CURSE
Here, too, the victim is innocent, but there is culpability on the part of whoever casts and/or commissions the curse. By the word curse, I mean the intention of harming others through demonic intervention. This can be achieved in many ways: malefice (or spell) binding, evil eye, malediction,a nd so on. The matter is serious, but we need to be a=on guard against misconceptions. By their nature, curses lend themselves to all sorts of abuses, especially when we consider the current escalation in the number of frauds, suggestions, manias, and more.
3. GRAVE HARDENING IN SIN
Judas Iscariot is the greatest Gospel example. The many individuals who abandon themsleves to sexual pervertions, violence, and drugs fall into this group. The heinous crime of abortion aggravates this situation; its terrible repercussions are clearly seen during exorcisms, because to liberate a victim guilty of abortion usually requires a very long period of time. Due to the current devastation of the family and laxity of morals, the repercussions that stem from the scourge of abortion are much more common than in the past. When we take all these factors into account, we can understand why the number of individuals stricken by evil ailments has multiplied.
4 – PROXIMITY TO EVIL PLACES OR PERSONS
This includes attending spiritualistic sessions, dabbling in magic, or consulting magicians, witch doctors, and some card readers; also, practicing the occult, belonging to satanic sects, or participating in rites that climax with black masses, and so on, put us at great risk. To this category we can add the influence of mass media, such as pornography and violent horror films and many TV sitcoms which take immorality lightly.
It was St. Ambrose who wrote, “There is nothing evil save that which perverts the mind and shackles the conscience.” And this is precisely the evil we find ourselves entangled in today. It cannot be ignored or downplayed. My prayer is that more people take the reality of evil seriously because there are far too many people suffering when they shouldn’t be. Far too many people are broken and in need of healing because they were never told an alternative to their ailments. And there are far too many people who can be liberated from the imprisonment of this modern plague of disbelief and absence of truth. We are living in a world where, as St. Paul says, “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.” (Ephesians 6:12) To dismiss this reality can mean certain death. Literally. I urge my readers to think about and examine what has been said. There is a fine line between the root causes of many aspects in our lives which we find ourselves in that can be set free by ways others than what we’re being told.
What can we do?
Pray. When problems arise from things in the created realm we seek help from things created. When things arise from the spiritual we seek spiritual help. Prayer can never be underestimated. NEVER! We need to pray and live a sacramental life. These are the weapons which will conquer the diabolical. We need to avoid any such contact with places, things or people associated with sin and/or who cooperate with sin and evil. It’s a simple managing of our daily lives to fit the pattern by which God set before us. It takes time and patience just like anything else does but the effort will save your life and create a truly happy existence for you and everyone God places in your life. This is what it means to be a light to the world. By God’s grace we will overcome!
St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us
Blessed Bartolo Longo, pray for us
© Paul A. Ray, Invictus Christus, March 2016
(1) Fr,. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., Ed. D. (An Exorcist Tells his Story, Forward)
(2) Fr. Gabriele Amorth (An Exorcist: More Stories, pg. 60)
All examples and explanations given by Fr. Gabriele Amorth in “An Exorcist: More Stories” (Ignatius Press), pg. 60-63