Finding this huge snake skin today, on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, reminds me of my life and times as an exorcist here and there around the world. It comes to mind to do a series on exorcism tips for the new exorcists coming on the scene in America and right around the world.
Mind you, it’s NOT that I’m anything special at all. It’s just that I’ve had quite a lot of varied experience, both in the training of exorcists and in doing exorcisms. Experience is always useful. Always. In this series, I won’t conjecture anything. I’ll be extremely strict about the interpretation of restrictive law about exorcism, keeping you within the parameters of obedience to Holy Mother Church.
Here’s the first tip, taking a hint from the great letter of Saint Judas (or Jude) in the New Testament (see 1,9): Saint Michael the Archangel would not rebuke the devil, but counted on the Lord to do this for him.
Never, don’t ever take it upon yourself to revile Satan. Humbly ask Christ our God, the Son of the Immaculate Conception to do this for you. If you do that, Satan will jump right out of his skin and depart immediately. He’s nothing compared to the Son of the Immaculate Conception. Asking is “deprecation.” Everyone is free to do that. We do that at the end of the Lord’s prayer: “Deliver us from the Evil One.”
If you are an exorcist, expressly mandated by your local Ordinary to do an exorcism or to have the ministry in an ongoing manner, and you are called upon to pronounce an imprecatory exorcism , such as “Begone, Satan!” – imprecation being a direct command – never, don’t ever forget that you are doing this in the name of Christ our God, the Son of the Immaculate Conception. If you, for a second forget this, Satan will have his way with you. I’ve seen this countless times as an exorcist.
In any case, recite the prayer to Saint Michael after every Mass. These are not suppressed for the Extraordinary Form of 1962. That suppression came a couple of years later and would not affect the provisions of Summorum Pontificum for the 1962 Mass.
Even in regard to the Ordinary Form, I think both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict have asked that the Prayer to Saint Michael continue to be recited after every Mass.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude. R. Amen.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Perhaps some of you have read the horrific — however brilliant — book by Malachi Martin, Hostage to the Devil, written in the heyday of Jesuit evolutionary pop-psychology. You’ll notice that in each case, he pits the exorcist against the devil, personally, directly, so much so that Christ does not really have a role in the exorcism. Rather, it is a battle of wits between the exorcist and the devil. He even frankly says that in his appendix at the end. He played directly into the hands of the devil on this one. This is exactly, precisely what you are not supposed to do. The exorcist is to depend entirely on Christ Jesus, no more, no less.
I had lunch with Malachi in the mid-1990s so as to discuss exactly this point. It really does seem, as I said, that, for instance, in one case, he was so able to trounce the biological evolution of Theilhard de Chardin, S.J., his fellow Jesuit, for the very reason that he had merely jacked it up one level, to a spiritual evolution, whereby the exorcist was leading humanity onward by way of battling the worst and winning, “spiritually.” He was rendered quite speechless about this.
Anyway, note the change in popular culture in a different way, whereby it is ourselves who are to battle Satan, not God. This can be seen in statues and paintings of Saint Michael. It just happens that before the 1960s, he is depicted with a very calm face, for it is God who does the battle. After the 1960s, Saint Michael has an angry, almost frustrated face, for he is doing the battle himself. Not good. Again, Saint Michael himself said: “May God rebuke you!”
Also, just to say, as of this moment, right now, as I write this, I do not have any mandate to be an exorcist, for the reason that I am not at present, as I write this, participating in or conducting any exorcisms. That could change from one moment to the next, of course. Have I many times received an express episcopal mandate in this or that (Arch)Diocese right around the world? Yes. Many times.