Persian Mani is a favorite of many still today. When it comes to exorcism, Satan rejoices to see exorcists lost to this kind of dualistic idiocy. The body: baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad! Whatever else there is to man: goooooooooooood!
A favorite mocking of exorcists by Satan takes the form of the familiar child’s game of Hide and Go Seek. In this game, Satan makes it seem like he is merely in the baaaaaaaaaad body, so that his holding the higher faculties of man are ignored: Ooooooo! I’m hiding in what part of the body now? I’m in head! No! Now I’m in the stomach! No! Now I’m in the feet! No! Now I’m in… the… sexual organs! Sigh. I’ve seen exorcists go frantic, blessing this part of the body, then the next, then the next, then… the… Coming to one’s senses at this point is a good thing, is it not?
Piety involves giving God what is His due in justice, and is therefore part of the virtue of religion, but with an added aspect of what a son owes to a father, in this case our heavenly Father. Impiety takes it worst form in people offering this kind of respect to Satan, ready to follow Satan wherever he might lead, as in the game of Hide and Go Seek outlined above. It’s not good to have Satan as our father.
As it is, Satan is a spiritual being, a person. When he bothers a man, his being only spiritual doesn’t mean that when he bothers a man he doesn’t bother that man as the soul and body unity that that man is. Satan bothers man body and soul together, for that is what man is.
The exorcist merely has to address Satan before the possessed man in front of him. That is enough. To fall into manichaeism is not good. Really.
Question: How can one avoid playing Manichaean hide and go seek with Satan, when so many exorcists fall into this trap?
Answer: Play Hide and Go Seek with Jesus, taking the lead of Blessed John Paul II in his interview of Vittorio Messori as recounted in Crossing the Threshold of hope.
The gist of it is this. The cynic claims that God is abstract, somewhere out in outerspace. Why does God hide when there is so much suffering in this world. Where is God? Doesn’t God care? Blessed John Paul answers: Oh yes! What a scandal! The Lord does in fact hide from us, stripped down, nailed to the cross, there for the whole world to see in such plain sight that they cannot accept that this could be God, who for them must conveniently remain abstract and out in outerspace.
Play the game, with the Lord’s grace, being drawn to Himself by the power of His love. We don’t find Him until He finds us. It is we who are playing Hide and Go Seek with the Lord, not the reverse. He seeks us. He finds us. But he treats us with such gentleness. He makes it seem that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. But He gives us the grace to draw near to Him. That is how He finds us.
He finds us not only with our souls and bodies together, He sanctifies both soul and body together. No Manichaean dualism for our Lord! But He does like to win the game of Hide and Go Seek. He rejoices to capture us from the Cross, where He is hiding. And there He hides during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in the Most Blessed Sacrament. This is where He finds us. And in confession He embraces us with the graces of the Mass, of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Unlike Mani, who hated what he thought was his dualistic existence, trying to rid himself of his baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad body, where all evil resided (instead of coming from the fallen will of man), Christ Jesus loves us, even while we are yet sinners, so that He might lift us up to Himself, both soul and body being sanctified, rejoicing to do this for us. Our Lord Jesus is just so good, so very kind.