UPDATE: A reader emailed to mention the provenance of the healing of the family tree thing. A priest, along with the name of his book, was named, along with a lay evangelist. This may be it, since the revised edition of the book came out more than twenty years ago. The reasoning seems to be that “God punishes down to the third and fourth generations,” as we read in so many books of the Pentateuch. However, it looks like we missed that bit in Jeremiah the prophet, who speaks of a new covenant. Here’s the translation of the NAB for 31,29-33…
In those days they shall no longer say, “The fathers ate unripe grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge,” but through his own fault only shall anyone die: the teeth of him who eats the unripe grapes shall be set on edge. The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Lets be clear about a few things, shall we?
- There are no such things as spiritual genes, genetically speaking, right? Right.
- Original sin is shared by way of pro-creation, not imitation, because God is respecting the spiritual decision of Adam for his own body, from which we come, right? Right.
- The visiting the consequences of sin to the third and fourth generations was an analogous reminder of original sin, right? Right.
- The new covenant in our Lord’s blood is the covenant spoken about by Jeremiah, right? Right.
- We don’t want to reject our Lord’s redemption by insisting on the old covenant, do we? Nope.
“But aren’t there a lot of negative environmental influences that we can pray away, especially those which come from, like, an old, dead meany bad guy somewhere back in the line of my family tree, you know, the one I like to blame for all the bad stuff that happens to me, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally…? “
Answer (in the form of a quick purview of the spiritual life):
The purpose of redemption is not, not, not to be delivered from the just consequences of original sin, such as weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions all over the place, the fact that we get sick and die, that we suffer rubbish from others… The Lord respects mercy by way of His justice. He takes on what we deserve for sin in justice, death, and has the right in justice to have mercy on us because He’s taken this on while being innocent, being God. I’m sure we’ve all heard the prayer: “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world” : justice and mercy together.
Progress in the spiritual life is not getting rid of the just consequences of original sin, which provide the backdrop for us to understand the greatness of the intervention of our Incarnate Lord, but rather, progress in the spiritual life is union with our Lord, praising Him for His mercy, which we see all the more clearly when we don’t run from the cross, the effects of sin, original or otherwise, mentioned above, but rather use those consequences of sin to learn how to depend, in all our weakness, on the strength of the Lord. We stay weak in this world. We boast of our weakness to the praise and glory of the Lord. Sound like Saint Paul?
Escaping the cross is at the root of all the new age rubbish that was alive and well in the pop-psychology heyday of the 1970s and 1980s. Can’t we just leave that behind now, as in “Get behind me, Satan?” It’s time now, as always, to look to and follow Jesus as we pick up and carry the cross as He commanded us.
Carrying the cross is Church Triumphalism at its very best. Those who escape the cross, forever trying to save themselves from the justice of mercy, miss out on the glorious rejoicing to be had as we boast of the Lord’s strength in all our weakness.
Also, again, Satan is not an effect of original sin. He’s not an illness. He’s not a stain that can be scrubbed away with praying. Exorcism is simply an aid to strengthen the faith of the oppressed and those who know them. Healing of disease by way of miracle is the same.