Happy Wednesday. I can’t believe how fast this year seems to be going by. Hurling through time toward Lord knows what!
I was sitting here wondering what to talk about and my mind keeps going to “The Saints”. No, not the football team… though that would be worth a little conversation. I’m talking about Saint Joseph, Saint Jude, Saint Benedict, etc. Having grown up and been schooled as a Protestant since as far back as I can remember, Saints have been nothing more than people that Catholics talk to; an unnecessary step to take in prayer. As I matured in the Faith, I began to understand that there may be something to this.
After reluctantly accepting the possibility that the Lord was calling me into the ministry of Exorcism, I quickly noticed that the pool of mentors and teachers dwindled to only a handful. Those that had verifiable, honest to goodness, experience that I would trust as genuine were Catholic priests! Lookie there, the religion that I had quite a few issues with was to become a major contributor to my hands-on education. Once I actually learned about the Catholic faith, I began to see that they were not as deluded as I thought. 🙂
I have always accepted that many Catholics were genuine, ‘born again’ Christians. But I refused to take a hard look at areas I could not reconcile in my mind – why does God still love and accept the person who seems to be stuck in a Hail Mary do-loop? Why is it that I genuinely see the love of God displayed in a guy who asks some Saint to pray for him? Why are they even talking to ‘dead people’ at all??! Yeah, this, even though I firmly believe that we are eternal souls bound for one place or another (i.e., we never truly die) – yet I was knocking a Catholic for talking to a ‘dead’ guy. For one thing, the Old Testament forbids conversing with the dead, and for another thing, I never believed that they could actually hear us anyway. Only The Trinity is Soveriegn! – nothing was going to mess with that fact in my mind. Yeah, I was all over the place.
What really turned the tide, honestly, were the things that the possessed person said or responded to during exorcisms. Invoking the help of the Saints and the Virgin Mary were pure torture to the demonic – and they were afraid! The possessed would curse the priest, curse Mary, the Saints, and on and on. Then there was the holy water and the rosary – a demon possessed person hates them! Now, looping all of this back to things I could not reconcile – if the Devil is afraid of and hates all of this, why should I be completely discounting it? In the words of Jesus, “…those who are not for me are against me.” Black and white as far as I’m concerned. The Devil is obvously vehemently against all things God – therefore, the Saints and Virgin Mary thing must be….Godly. An argument can be made to ‘never trust a demon’. True. But the perponderance of evidence points to these things being effective in driving out demons. One thing has to be said though – Faith has everything to do with driving out demons. If you do not believe in what you say and believe in the One who sent you, you are in for a big surprise – or a good beat-down.
“…Without faith it is impossible to please God…” – Hebrews 11:6. More directly to exorcisms, after his disciples failed at driving out a demon, Jesus said, “…Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20. In Matthew 17:17 Jesus even scolded the people around Him saying, “You unbelieving and perverse generation…”. Ouch. All I can do lately is pray, “Lord please anchor my faith, help me to see, help me to unwaiveringly believe!” These three sections of scripture cut through me something terrible. Keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure. How can we ever have, even, the simplest relationship with God without true Faith? I tell you what, if you can tackle that, you can do anything! Really though – “…nothing will be impossible for you.”
As far as the Saints go, I understand that it is alright to ask them to offer up a prayer on your behalf. I wouldn’t start worshipping them or anything to that extreme. It’s the mysterious “communion of saints” thing you may have heard about. But, ultimately, everything drives you to a greater faith in Christ and God! I’m not trying to over simplify this by any means – there is more to it. (I’ll post a few links to some pretty informative learning material.) I only meant to briefly summarize some things, that’s all. I hope that you all will strive to have a deeper relationship with our God. Remember, those that seek Him will find Him.