We live in a period of Relativism when there is no absolute truth or falsity anymore. And true as in the teachings of the Catholic Church that there is a grave danger to this pervasive belief because we hold on to what we only personally believe is true and not what is true according to nature and tradition. Everything has become subjective and dependent on individual convictions.
Take the instance of evil. We see a lot of horror flicks in the past decade, each one more horrible than the next. Some movies show the cross without power demons as they are being cast out, or another scene where the possessed merely laughs as the holy water was sprinkled on him. Hollywood is replete with scenes like these, giving viewers the belief that devils ARE really more powerful than what our faith had us to believe. For a time, I actually believed in this theory.
But these are misconceptions that have developed over a period of time. What was true before remains true until today, that evil spirits are real and that they cannot stand the sight of the cross. More on these misconceptions are discussed by prominent exorcists of our time.
Recent Study of Demonic Possessions
I got hold of this book, Hostage to the Devil, a book authored by Malachi Martin in 1976 which I bought recently. I was apprehensive to read it at first. Never a fan of horror films (the only horror films I watched of late was The Rite and before that, The Blair Witch Project), I took hold of it with much hesitation. Why did I read it, you ask? Because I wanted to strengthen my faith in its teaching that devils certainly exist and they often roam the Earth looking for souls to corrupt and bring in to their dark kingdom.
The book holds basic truths of the existence of good and evil, but more particularly the prevalence of demonic possession in recent years. And in a period when we have become lukewarm of the existence of evil, make no mistake: evil is real and it exists. Demons are out to corrupt the spirit of people who have fallen into sin. Malachi Martin gave samples of these demonic possessions in his book. These stories show how these possessions came to be, and how the exorcists were able to remove these spirits from the people they held prison.
Brief Profile of the Author
Martin was a former Jesuit priest who has written several books on Roman Catholicism. His outspokenness about the pitfalls of the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s led him to leave the Jesuit congregation in 1965. Despite the setback, Martin remained steadfast in his faith and has written several works in defense of the Catholic faith. His untimely death is still shrouded in mystery.
Particulars of the Book
Martin chose 5 case studies in his book, interviewing the exorcists who performed the rites and the persons who have had a first hand account of the demonic possessions. Each case presented different profile of individuals coming from diverse backgrounds: one was a man who was unsure of his sexuality; a mild-mannered and bright young lady turned junkie; a priest who was lukewarm in his vocation; a young man who had an imaginary “friend”; and a scholar with extra-sensory perception who eventually dabbled in the black arts.
In all cases, it was clear that possession took place with the cooperation of the person possessed. A person’s will is something neither God or the demon can take from man, so that it is the most important character of a human being. Without will, good or evil cannot flourish.
In the case of the victim with ESP, his cooperation with the devil began when he decided to learn the dark arts. Martin explained that while the victim’s inherent extra-sensory ability was actually a gift from God, the victim’s insatiable desire to improve his powers was his undoing as he was actually invoking the devil. The victim’s fascination with New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, mind reading, astral projection, were gifts of deception from evil spirits–talents which he found enticing enough to embrace in the conviction that he was close to revealing the true essence of God.
Martin’s interview with the exorcists dispel the notion that evil spirits are not afraid of the crucifix. Even the name of Jesus have demons seething with rage. Reading the book affirmed my belief that blessed religious objects or sacramentals protect us from evil, especially evil spirits.
Finally, that we should always be in the friendship and grace of God because He will always protect us from evil. When we lose that state of grace, we let sin pervade us. And that is when we lose reality of what is good and evil in this world.
So let us pray always, invoke the protection of our Lord Jesus, Blessed Mary, the angels and saints in heaven.