In a previous post in this tips on exorcism series, I said that if I were looking for an exorcism for myself, I would like an exorcist who rejoiced to know that he was nothing more than a living bit of irony in the battle between Mary’s Son and Satan, knowing that he, just because of original sin (whatever of personal sin) had once himself been a child of Satan needing an exorcism at baptism, and here he is now, exorcizing demons in the name of our Lord Jesus. As with everything else our Lord does for us, His rejoicing in us goes just this far, to stick it to Satan by using even us... I love it when our Lord rejoices in us. Jesus rejoices in irony. We should too. We do that always more when we increasingly know just how much Jesus did for us, drawing all to Himself while He was lifted up on the Cross, drawing us right through the hell broken out in full force on Calvary. What joy to rejoice in this irony of ourselves giving commands in the name of Jesus to Satan to depart! This rejoicing is ours when we have just a smidgeon of understanding of how much our Lord rejoices to bring us to Himself, having the majestic right in justice to do this because of Him, in all innocence, taking on the death we ourselves deserve for original and any personal sin. He, always innocent, becomes, as Saint Paul says in his enthusiastic shorthand… He becomes sin for us to forgive us of our sin. Talk about irony. Talk about being in the face of Satan. No one looked more like a criminal in every way than Jesus on the Cross. I cannot but quote something some readers of my past blogs will know well, a bit on irony from Hilare Belloc:
To the young, the pure, and the ingenuous, irony must always appear to have a quality of something evil, and so it has, for [...] it is a sword to wound. It is so directly the product or reflex of evil that, though it can never be used – nay, can hardly exist – save in the chastisement of evil, yet irony always carries with it some reflections of the bad spirit against which it was directed. [...] It suggests most powerfully the evil against which it is directed, and those innocent of evil shun so terrible an instrument. [...] The mere truth is vivid with ironical power. [...] The mere utterance of a plain truth labouriously concealed by hypocrisy, denied by contemporary falsehood, and forgotten in the moral lethargy of the populace, takes upon itself an ironical quality more powerful than any elaboration of special ironies could have taken in the past. [...] No man possessed of irony and using it has lived happily; nor has any man possessing it and using it died without having done great good to his fellows and secured a singular advantage to his own soul.
[Hilaire Belloc, Selected Essays (2/6), ed. J.B. Morton; Penguin Books (1325): Harmondsworth – Baltimore – Mitcham 1958. See the essay "On Irony" on pages 124-127.]
Yikes! That deserves a re-reading. Exorcists should have this passage memorized, for they will realize this bit of irony in their own lives I think perhaps more than many upon this earth. As it should be. Rejoicing in irony is one of the great joys of being an exorcist! Let me rephrase that: Rejoicing in Irony Incarnate, in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is The great joy of being an exorcist! Rejoice! Again I will say, Rejoice!