"Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil." (Eph. 6:11)
“It’s no big deal!” “What’s the problem?” “Why do you even think about this stuff?” “I don’t like talking about this stuff!” “It really freaks me out!” These are all statements made to me one time or another throughout my life in regard to earthly things that lead to the demonic.
Thankfully, I was raised with a fairly clear understanding that tangible as well as intangible things come from one of two places. I was taught to discern which of my thoughts came from God and which were from the father of lies. I was raised to have a critical eye and to try to immediately remove anything in my life that might come from a source other than God. If you’re a parent, I hope you are teaching your children this because it will help them immensely to put God first in their lives and put on the armor of God to safeguard their souls!.
The Act of Contrition I grew up praying ended with “to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin." This was later changed to "confess my sins, do penance, and to amend my life, Amen." That last part of the older form “avoid the near occasion of sin” has no doubt kept me out of a lot of pretty sticky situations over the years. It’s such a simple little phrase to repeat in your head but helps ever so much to put the brakes on when you’re just about ready to go head first down the wrong path.
Ok, so there’s the concept of avoiding the near occasion of sin, but that’s not the whole story. I didn’t really want to write this post but kept getting signals from all different directions (that I discerned were coming from God, of course….at least I hope and pray they were!) that this is precisely what I should write about. My original inspiration came after reading a few recently published articles regarding the increased level of evil and requests for exorcisms. Exorcists report receiving more and more calls for help from individuals at alarming rates. Things like witchcraft and satanic worship are on the rise and it is vital for Chrsitians to be mindful of what to avoid! If you haven’t heard, there’s a spiritual battle going on for your soul every moment of every day! Always keep in mind, however, that the goodness of God is far greater than any evil that has ever or will ever exist. Also, remember that we have been blessed with an abundance of spiritual gifts to assist us.
I was blown away recently when I watched a video from an exorcist in Indianapolis. Fr. Vincent Lambert was very concrete about the things we absolutely need to avoid as they can be doors to the demonic. I had heard a previous talk by an exorcist at a FOCUS conference that was equally compelling. In addition to this, I am following the Bible In a Year series by Fr. Mike (Say it really fast with me just once “Hi I’m Father Mike” Ha!) with most likely over a million other people on the planet. Several weeks ago Fr. Mike reminded listeners of a whole list of things to avoid participating in because they can be windows to the demonic.
Fr. Vincent Lampert, the exorcist for the Diocese of Indianapolis explains that there are 8 main ways people open the doorway to evil in their lives. The following are my notes from his presentation.
- Ties to the occult. This includes palm reading, mediums, tarot cards, ouija boards, psychics, pendulums, yoga, crystals, magic, horoscopes, witchcraft, superstitions, and even knocking on wood. All of these are condemned as they are a form of idolatry. We shouldn’t practice things that come from other religions. Deuteronomy chapter 18:10-12 states “Let there not be found among you anyone who causes their son or daughter to pass through the fire, or practices divination, or is a soothsayer, augur, or sorcerer, or who casts spells, consults ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, and because of such abominations the LORD, your God, is dispossessing them before you.”
- Entertainment Industry. Movies, TV, Literature, Games, Computer and IT gadgets. Warning here against Harry Potter books and movies because they promote that being a witch or a wizard is a position of power. Evil is presented as something good. Many children’s libraries have Harry Potter but not The Bible. Be mindful of other books recently entering major markets that incorporate demons and encourage children to draw them. Also included are Ouija boards and pokemon. The highest card to have in pokemon is Pikachu which translated means 100X more powerful than God.
- Being cursed. It is the opposite of a blessing. Satan is always looking for a chink in the armor or a particular vlunerability and is only effective if we are weak in our faith. As long as we are standing firm in our faith then we have nothing to worry about. There is no such thing as a good witch and magic is inherently evil. Illegal drugs entering our country may be cursed. The goal is to destroy people’s lives. It is important to bless things. A blessing is much more powerful than a curse. In our prayer before meals, we are not just thanking God for the food, but, the tradition is that we are doing an exorcism over the food we are about to digest because demons can live in plants and food. It is important, however, not to live in fear!! The devil wants us to. We need to stand firm in our belief in Jesus Christ. Look for the hand of Jesus Christ and not otherwise. Be mindful of things that may be demonic. Stay clear of secret societies such as the Masons. Blasphemous things are becoming very mainstream in our culture so we need to be very vigilant with what our children are playing with or watching.
- Being dedicated to a demon. There are actually parents who do this.
- Abuse. Abuse that creates emotional wounds that lead a person to seek help from the wrong sources. Abuse can lead to the presence of the demonic in a person’s life.
- Life of habitual sin. We often justify our actions instead of taking ownership of them. This includes addictive behavior and the most vicious is that of pornography.
- Inviting a demon in or cultivating a relationship with a demon.
- Broken relationships. How do we deal with brokenness? Do we seek revenge, get angry, or have hostility? Family brokenness can lead to possession.
My hope is that this information is very helpful to you in your spiritual journey and in raising your children. I know I have mentioned this before, but I cannot say enough how grateful I am that I am a Catholic! I am so very grateful for the prayers, sacraments, and truths that I have been taught! I am so grateful that I have been taught to put on the armor of God. The rules we have are put in place out of love and protection for me, for us. I have heard people question aspects like our Sunday Mass requirement. I can honestly say that I have never questioned this as I really love the Mass and look forward to it! I do realize, however, that some people really struggle with this aspect. The older I get it becomes more and more clear to me that I have been and continue to be protected by my Catholic faith as I have been encouraged and taught to put on the armor of God. So, in closing, I want to offer a word of encouragement to you, a personal invitation, really, to make the most of what is offered in our faith. Take advantage of the grace of the sacraments and the rich traditions of our Catholic faith! "Be holy as your heavenly Father is holy!"