There are certain things that are dead giveaways about what a person is like. For instance, if a priest speaks frequently about the joy he has in going to confession, and encourages others to go to confession, relating how he has himself grown in humble thanksgiving for the goodness and kindness of our Lord and for the increase in friendship with our Lord, and how he, as a priest, wants everyone to know our Lord just so very personally, well then, you know that such a priest is very probably an excellent confessor, perhaps a lion in the pulpit, but surely a lamb in the confessional.
In the same way, you can pretty much tell an exorcist by the kind of assistants he chooses. I’ve met just way too many exorcists or “deliverance persons” with their “power teams” and “core groups” of “specially gifted people.” Blech. Exorcism is not about power, being included or being special. It is about the further establishment of the Kingdom of God by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is between Jesus and Satan, not about special talents put in a power move against Satan. This is about obedience to the authority of the Church through the exorcist expressly, personally mandated by the bishop.
The best assistants are those who are utterly boring as far as special talents are concerned. They don’t get excited or enthralled that they are going to be assisting at any exorcism. They are not the kind who will be talking about it afterward. They will respect the privacy of the individuals concerned and be there to pray and otherwise assist. They might fast a bit. That’s it. Pick those whom you note at Eucharistic adoration, but who don’t flaunt their presence for others to see. Pick those who are to be seen in a line for confession. It’s a good idea to pick those who are not in charge of anything because they have an aversion to drawing attention to themselves, but who do volunteer frequently enough for the lowest jobs – health permitting – like cleaning the toilets. It is essential to have those who are balanced, filled with down to earth common sense. Those who have physically suffered a great deal and those who have quietly suffered much injustice can be the most excellent assistants. Suffering is a great school for the otherwise oxymoronically elusive common sense. Those who have suffered much are not likely to assist at an exorcism with superficiality.
By the way, as an exorcist, you must have assistants, always, every time, and this for a number of reasons.
(1) Propriety. Having assistants is not only necessary if minors or women are the subjects of the exorcisms, but for everyone, as all candidates for exorcism can be terribly vulnerable. Fathers: Don’t do an exorcism unless you have a number of balanced, common sense, respectable witnesses. Sometimes, during an exorcism, a person might flail about, however unconscious they are. For their own safety, it’s good for them to be gently restrained, having those of the same sex hold their hands or shoulders or feet. Women for women, men for men. Propriety.
(2) Prayer and fasting. You, as an exorcist, have to fast and pray, but it is wonderful to have assistants who are just normal, good people, who know how to pray and how to fast. If you have such people, instead of those who are showcasing their supposed talents, you will surely see how all present are brought further into humble reverence before our Lord, as He does His work.
Exorcism is not a place for people to showcase their supposed charismatic talents, drawing attention to themselves and imposing their “readings” of the souls of others like watching so many television sets. This is true of the exorcist and the assistants. The discernment of the exorcist is different than considering any supposed “charismatic” input. Judeo-Catholic practice has never recommended “charismatic” discernment, ever. There are reasons for that, such as the unknown provenance of such “readings”. “It has to be the Holy Spirit!” No, it doesn’t. The Holy Spirit is not going to undermine the very different prudential judgment which the exorcist is to have. Really. The Holy Spirit supports His own Church. Really. Surprise. Surprise. The Holy Spirit is not a pet bird that we train to make ourselves look important. Really not. But more on that, please God, in other posts on the proper discernment in all prudential judgment that the exorcist himself is to have.
The purpose of this post is just to say that an exorcist will be well served in choosing utterly boring, non-talented, but prayerful, humble, helpful assistants.