SPIRITUAL WARFARE: THE OCCULT HAS DEMONIC INFLUENCE
Bishop Donald W Montrose
With the "occult" we speak of a superhuman or supernatural influence that does not come from God. We usually associate the occult with that which has demonic influence.
In the United States the occult is much more popular today than it was twenty years ago. Today there is popular satanic music, satanic street gangs, an increase in satanic worship, more widespread use of horoscope and zodiac study, and satanic games available for purchase. Despite this, many people do not take the occult seriously. They laugh at the idea that the power of evil is actually a part of the "real" world in which we live.
I believe that demonic influence is very real and that it poses a dangerous threat to our spiritual well-being. What is written here is at best a brief synopsis of a reality I do not wish to explore at length. My goal is simply to give you enough knowledge to at least suspect the presence of the occult so that you can avoid it entirely.
In the Epistle to the Ephesians (1:3-10), Saint Paul tells us that God chose us in Jesus Christ before the world began. We are called to be holy and sinless in His sight. God called us to be his children through Jesus Christ. In Jesus and through his blood we are saved and our sins are forgiven. God our Father was so generous with us. And he gave us the wisdom to understand this mystery, this plan that he revealed to us in Christ.
We are baptized and confirmed Christians. In these two sacraments we have renounced Satan, all his works, and the empty promises of the kingdom of darkness. In these baptismal promises we profess our faith in Jesus Christ and in the Church. Now the kingdom of God is absolutely opposed to the kingdom of Satan. Salvation in Jesus Christ presupposes our rejection of the kingdom of darkness. However, our life is a spiritual battle. In the first letter of John (1 John 5:18-20) he tells us two things. First of all, we who are born of God (through baptism and the Holy Spirit) are protected by God so that evil cannot touch us. But he also tells us that the whole world is under evil.
The evil one can seduce us, but he cannot touch us directly unless we open the door to him. We should not fear Satan, nor should we keep looking for him in the ordinary events of our lives.
Don't focus on the evil spirits, but fix your eyes and your faith on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are saved through Jesus Christ alone, through prayer, our adherence to the Word of God in the Bible, and through the sacraments, especially Jesus' presence in the Holy Eucharist.
In our prayer we should not forget to include Mary, the Mother of God, who crushed the head of the old serpent (Genesis 3:15). Devotion to Mary is a powerful safeguard in our daily lives.
What is Satan's kingdom like, the kingdom of darkness? It is a lie trying to resemble the kingdom of God. Read Isaiah (14:12-15). It's about Satan. The prophet tells us that Satan is determined in his heart to be like God.
That is why he wants in Satan's kingdom everything that is in the kingdom of God. But his kingdom is a lie; Is it wrong. In the kingdom of darkness there is false worship and worship; there is evil prayer. He offers us false happiness and peace. He offers us dark wisdom and knowledge. So he tempted Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:5). Satan said, "No, God knows well that the moment you eat it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad." Satan also offers us in his kingdom a health that leads to death and a protection that is false. Just as we imagine the angels of heaven singing and worshiping God, there is also a special music that is evil in the kingdom of darkness.
Satan's kingdom is a lie. He wants to be like God. But in the very first of the Ten Commandments, God said to Moses, “I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt have no strange gods proposed to us in the kingdom of darkness.” Saint Paul urges us to be on our guard : “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some people will give up their faith. They will become liars obey spirits and follow the teaching of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1). Let us hold fast to our faith in the Lord Jesus and His Church. Our salvation is effected solely through Jesus Christ, through prayer, through reading and studying the Word of God in the Bible, and through Jesus' presence at the Holy Sacrifice of Mass in our tabernacles.
As the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, the Lord God gave them many commandments dealing with the true worship He desired and the false worship He hated. The same commandments apply to us today.
“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abominations of the people there. There shall be no one among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, nor fortune tellers, soothsayers, conjurers, soothsayers, or sorcerers, nor anyone who consults with ghosts and spirits, or seeks oracles from the dead. Anyone who does such doing things is an abomination to the Lord, and because of such abominations the Lord your God will drive these nations out of your way. But you must be perfectly honest with the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 18:9-13).
The Lord says we must be sincere with Him. We can't have both. Jesus said, "Whoever is not with me is against me" (Mt 21:30). We must be determined to follow the Lord alone.
Now let's look at some examples of forbidden knowledge and power.
When we speak of forbidden knowledge, we simply mean knowledge obtained outside of God's control or in the normal way that human beings obtain knowledge. None of us knows the future; from our knowledge of special circumstances we can know what could possibly happen. That's one thing. But seeking knowledge of the future or intimate knowledge of another person, apart from God and with the help of clairvoyance or spirits, is what is meant by forbidden knowledge.
Forbidden power is a type of magical power that produces effects outside of God and in ways beyond ordinary human means.
The kingdom of darkness and forbidden knowledge
“Do not go to mediums and do not consult soothsayers, for they will defile you. I, the Lord, am your God” (Lev. 19:31). "Should anyone turn to mediums and soothsayers and follow their wanton ways, I will turn against such a one and cut him off from his people" (Lev. 20:6).
Astrology, horoscopes are pagan customs
Fortune tellers attempt to predict the future through the use of the occult, magic, or superstition. It is forbidden to seek knowledge of the future using playing cards, tarot cards, the crystal ball, studying the hand, the stars, examining the livers of dead animals, shooting arrows, the Ouija board, or any other superstitious means.
A medium is a person who possesses direct or secret knowledge, either through a questionable power of his own or through the power of an evil spirit working through him. In 1 Samuel chapter 3, read how King Saul consulted a medium and died the next day. 1 Chronicles 10:13 says that is why Saul died.
Astrology and Horoscopes
Jeremiah 10:2 "Thus says the Lord: Learn not the rites of the Gentiles, nor fear the signs of heaven, even though the Gentiles fear them." By studying the stars and planets, an astrologer constructs a horoscope based on a person's month and birthday. The horoscope is a prediction of events that are likely to occur in a person's life based on the movement of the stars and planets. Even though millions of people follow horoscopes with more or less interest, it is still a form of fortune telling. Even if you say you don't believe in horoscopes and just read your own for fun, you should stop the practice. The daily horoscope can affect us slightly from time to time. It's a way we open ourselves to the occult.
If you want to live in the kingdom of God, do without horoscopes and all other means of divination. Any playing cards, Ouija boards, or other things used for divination should be destroyed.
The kingdom of darkness and forbidden power
Sorcery or superstitious magic is used to achieve effects beyond the power of man. These effects can be good or bad and are induced by using magical words or gestures, or using magical herbs, powders, liquids or similar things. There is often a specific invocation of the devil. Physical evils are directed against individuals out of hatred or jealousy. We've all heard of putting pins in dolls, the evil eye, eating cursed food, or drinking a liquid said to cause harm, illness, or death through the power of darkness. This is witchcraft. Witches can be found almost everywhere these days and are often portrayed in a positive light. Just remember that anyone engaged in false worship, seeking forbidden knowledge, or using forbidden power should be avoided at all costs.
There is also a growing interest in African witchcraft - voodooism. The gods of voodooism are good and evil. Typically, a voodoo service begins after sunset and ends early in the morning. It often involves a bloody sacrifice of a goat or chicken. There is prayer and singing. The gods are said to enter the persons briefly during the ritual.
In voodooism and witchcraft, Catholic objects such as holy images, crucifixes, candles, holy water, and Catholic prayers, as well as other objects and prayers, are sometimes used. Don't be fooled by the seemingly religious nature of what is happening.
If you have items or written prayers used in witchcraft or given to you by a witch, they should be completely destroyed.
If you have been involved in witchcraft, you must renounce the devil, the witchcraft you have been involved in and all witchcraft, seek forgiveness from God and confess your sin to a priest. In confession (the sacrament of reconciliation) divine power is needed to free one from the influence of evil.
Spells and Amulets
This is a form of magic where the particular object is believed to have the power to attract good or ward off evil. These are especially bad when given to us by a diviner, spiritualist, curandero, or person involved with the occult. If the object is worn on the body or carried in a purse or placed in the house, it means that the influence of evil is always with us.
Examples include: carrying garlic in your purse to always have money, keeping open scissors for good luck, keeping special herbs in a jar, wearing a crescent moon around your neck or a garlic necklace, putting alfalfa and flowers in front of a statue, putting up oriental or Indian god figures in the house and so on. Much of the modern jewelry worn around the neck today is actually representative of something used in witchcraft. Usually people wear this jewelry innocently.
We must be careful not to use religious medals or statues in superstitious ways. No medal, statue, or religious object is associated with power or good fortune. A medal, statue or candle is just a sign of our prayer asking the saint to intercede with God for us. All worship is for God and Him alone.
Any items described above, or any other items used in a superstitious manner, should effectively be discarded or destroyed. When we wear jewelry that corresponds to a zodiac sign, or when we wear something that represents witchcraft, we can unknowingly open ourselves to the realm of darkness. People wear religious medals because they seek the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary or saints and desire the protection and blessings of God. Wearing something that represents the occult, even in an innocent way, is a symbol that we are under the power of darkness. We should not hesitate to part with this type of jewelry. We either want to be in the kingdom of God or we don't.
Renounce Satan, renounce the use of magic spells and ask God for forgiveness. If you carved such an object on purpose to ward off evil or to attract good luck, it would be good to mention it when going to confession.
Do not put your faith in the kingdom of darkness, but only in Jesus Christ, who heals, who saves, who protects us and who loves us.
spiritualists or spiritual churches
Spiritism involves communication with the dead or with the spirit world through psychic or occult means.
Great caution is required because many people are deceived. There may be use of the Bible, holy water, statues of saints and Catholic hymns. Spiritualists often believe in the fatherhood of God, doing good, personal responsibility for what one does, reward for good deeds and punishment for evil deeds. Many are Christians or even Catholics and profess to believe in Jesus.
But there is always a dangerous attempt to communicate in any way with the dead or with spirits. It can be done through a seance, or maybe the person just seems to go into a trance.
Sometimes spiritists are involved in healing, witchcraft, divination, or even blessing houses to protect them. Sometimes they also believe in reincarnation.
This is the belief that after death the soul passes into the body of another human, animal, plant or even object. Many oriental religions or cults believe in it. In Hinduism, the god Vishnu is believed to have had several reincarnations as a fish, as a dwarf, as the person of Rama, and as Krishna in different ages of the world. This contradicts the Bible and all Christian belief in the hereafter. "It is destined that men die once, and after death they shall be judged" (Hebrews 10:27).
Those associated with spiritists must renounce Satan and spiritism, seek forgiveness from God, and confess their sin to a priest.
Curing diseases through superstition ("Curanderos" and "Santeros")
It doesn't matter if there are statues, holy water, crucifixes, prayers to Jesus, Mary and the saints, if there is any superstitious practice, it is evil. These are some examples:
wash the body with amulets or a tomato, put the rest under the bed,
cleanse the body with eggs or lemons and burn the materials with charcoal,
Use of rose water and alcohol for healing. (In one instance, this was prepared by placing a skeleton in the water for six hours, followed by singing and praying over the water.)
Sometimes a "curandero" gives a special vitamin to take or even prescribes "Catholic" prayers. None of these "prayers" should be said under these circumstances because they were prepared under the influence of evil.
Other examples are:
taking a special bath prepared with wine, flowers, bread, cinnamon, black sugar and water from a river.
wrap a person in a special bandage, cut off piece by piece and bury in a recent grave in the cemetery.
These are just some of the superstitions used, but there are many more.
Sometimes people pray to God and the saints and then go to seek relief in the kingdom of darkness. Many times God does not heal through prayer or doctors because He wants the soul to be healed of hatred, jealousy, or some other sin first. God knows what he's doing. We must choose either the power of God or the power of evil. If you have any items used in these fake cures, destroy them. Renounce Satan, renounce that sin, ask God for forgiveness, and confess your sin to a priest.
Although hypnosis is sometimes used today by reputable doctors, dentists, and therapists, it has historically been associated with the occult and superstition.
Even if it's legitimate, there are certain real dangers that need to be weighed very carefully. In hypnosis you give up your own ability to reason for a period of time; there is a dependence of the hypnotized on the will of the hypnotist; Also, there can be unfortunate after-effects resulting from this technique.
Avoid submitting to a hypnotist unless there are very serious reasons. never do it for entertainment purposes.
Today, hard rock music played by "satanic" music groups brings additional problems. This music often glorifies Satan, and sometimes also inspires desire to commit suicide, use drugs, and abuse sex. The music is also known to encourage physical violence. Even hell is suggested as the desired end of life. Evil lies in the musical combination of words, rhythm and noise. Such records or tapes should not be kept in the home but should be destroyed, even if they cost a significant amount of money. Choose the Kingdom of God!
It goes without saying that praying to the devil, worshiping Satan, reading the Satanic Bible, or attending a black mass that mocks the crucifixion of Jesus and the Eucharist are among the gravest sins one can commit.
In some satanic worship processes, Satan is sometimes sacrificed through the horrific killing of animals and even the murder of human infants. The secrecy of this activity allows the "Church of Satan" to gain a certain respectability in our society. It has the same legal status as any other church.
Do not be fooled; Being involved in this false church is a very serious matter. Catholics who wish to repent must at all costs renounce false religion, renounce Satan and their sin with all their hearts, and confess that sin in the Sacrament of Atonement.
The New Age Movement
Although practically unknown a few years ago, this movement is gaining popularity on an international level. On the surface it appears to be a "peace" movement, but in my estimation it definitely belongs in the occult. This is because it has some basic characteristics identified with the occult, although Satan is not mentioned.
For example, the New Age "god" is not the God of Christianity and Judaism. The New Age God is more like an impersonal energy or force that makes up the entire universe. This is a form of pantheism. For us, God is the Creator and Lord of all. We are his creatures. In the New Age, Jesus becomes one of the many spiritual masters who discovered his higher self. It is believed that we too can become enlightened in the New Age, and through our own efforts, not through revelation and the grace of God.
The New Age movement is sometimes referred to as the peace movement. Somehow, it is said, by becoming part of this "harmonious convergence," we can bring to bear a mighty force beyond ourselves to achieve world peace. But when we are talking about any power that is not of God and is beyond ourselves, we are really talking about the occult.
Don't be fooled by the talk of ecology, the natural beauty of the world, and the overall goodness of this movement's apparent goals. Those who join the New Age movement are joining a movement that deals with occult spiritual power. It is not a spiritual force that comes from God, but from the realm of false light and darkness.
The Kingdom of Darkness
This kingdom offers a false peace and happiness in sin. Man is able, especially in heaven, but also here on earth, to experience a deep joy and a deep peace given by God. Many of us have had this experience. The false joy offered in the sin of drunkenness or drug abuse, for example. This false joy is also offered in the sins of premarital sex, postmarital adultery, or homosexuality.
When people are deeply involved in these sins, or in murder, violent anger, or in deep hatred, jealousy, and unforgiveness, they are truly living in the realm of darkness and may expose themselves to the possibility of direct attack from the evil spirits.
The danger today is that sin has become very "respectable" in our society. Premarital sex, adultery, heavy social drinking, abortion, and homosexuality have all gained some degree of "respectability." They don't seem that bad. This is because they are not bad in the kingdom of darkness.
Elimination of the Kingdom of Darkness
Our homes should be sacred, peaceful places to live. Our houses must be clean. We shouldn't let them get dirty or allow clutter by accumulating junk and dirt in our drawers and closets. The power of evil abhors cleanliness.
Remove from your home anything associated with witchcraft, a spiritualist, a curandero, a medium, an Oriental religion or cult, or used in a superstitious way. Destroy it or cause it to be destroyed. Do not keep jewelry that is a symbol of witchcraft or a sign of the zodiac. Remove and burn all pornographic images and magazines - even those that have been stashed in drawers, closets or suitcases. Eliminate all religious literature that does not agree with the core truth of our belief that Jesus Christ is divine. He is the Son of God, our only Savior who brings us to the Father. Remove and destroy literature from the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Christian Science, Unity, Science of Mind, Scientology, Hare Krishna, Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, Divine Light Mission, Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, the Children of God and the Way International. None of this or similar literature should be in our homes. Do not allow the influence of evil to enter your home through television. Monitor the programs you see carefully. The values taught by the television commercials are not the values Our Lord Jesus Christ preached in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7.
Seeking God's presence in The Home
Although you are not a priest, as a baptized Catholic you have power that you do not realize. Saint Paul shared this truth with the Ephesians in his letter (Eph 1:19): “How great is his power at work in us, like the mighty power which he used in raising Christ from the dead and set Him at His right hand in the heavenly world.” Think about that for a while! The power of prayer is greater than we know.
Although we do not have the power of an ordained priest, we can ask God to protect and bless our homes. It is good for us to have blessed water in our homes and to use it frequently. If we wish to invoke God's blessings on our own home, we can say a simple prayer of blessing and then sprinkle holy water in each room. Such a prayer of blessing could look something like this:
“Heavenly Father, we ask your blessings on our home. In the name of your son Jesus we ask to be set free from sin and all evil influences. Protect us from sickness, accidents, theft and all domestic tragedies Glory of Jesus and consecrate us to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May all who live here receive your blessings of peace and love."
An "Our Father" and "Ave Maria" could also be recited.
The consecration of the family and home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is another beautiful Catholic custom. We need a crucifix and images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Our Lady in our homes. We want home to be a sacred place.
There must be a place in the home where family members gather to pray. It is a custom in some Mexican families to have a small altar with images or statues not only of Jesus, Mary and the saints but also of family members. It reminds us to pray for them.
Freeing my own self from the power of evil
Through his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus broke the power of evil. When the influence of evil is felt in one's life, most often it comes from personal sin. Family members suffer because of a single family member's sin. By the holy power which the Lord has placed in His Church, the evil of sin is conquered.
Through medicine, psychology, and other human resources, suffering can often be alleviated. But Jesus gave us fundamental help in his church, which is often neglected.
In our time, the sacrament of reconciliation has fallen into oblivion. There is a power in this sacrament to break the power of evil and sin that is otherwise not possible.
Our faith in the Eucharist is weakened. In this sacrament lies the power and presence of Jesus himself. Individuals who actually needed an exorcism from the power of evil were healed by sitting in church for an hour every day for a month or two in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Those were very difficult cases.
Our Blessed Mother was appointed by God to crush the serpent's head (Genesis 3:1s). The rosary is a very powerful means of protection and healing. Many sons and daughters have been saved from the power of sin and loss of faith through their parents' perseverance in praying the Holy Rosary.
The "Evil Eye" or "Hex": A special note
At times people are afraid because they believe that someone has given them an "evil eye," cast a "hex," or done something involving witchcraft to bring them under the enemy's destructive power. What about this problem?
My own personal beliefs are as follows: Jesus is Lord and God. He is Lord and therefore has dominion over both the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness. Satan has no dominion over the kingdom of light. He is granted limited dominion over the Kingdom of Darkness.
So when I am baptized and living in the kingdom of light in the state of sanctifying grace, Satan has no dominion over me unless I open the door to his influence out of fear. Sanctifying grace means that I participate mysteriously in the very life of God and He dwells in my soul (Rom. 5:5; 2 Cor. 6:16; John 14:23). However, if I commit a mortal sin, a serious sin, then I lose sanctifying grace and begin to live in the kingdom of darkness. Although I am baptized and possibly confirmed, I become somewhat vulnerable. If I persist and do not repent from serious sins, I become vulnerable to Satan's influence.
If we live in the kingdom of light, in the state of sanctifying grace, we should simply reject all fear and put our trust in God and in Our Lady, then live according to the advice given earlier in this article as far as possible kingdom of darkness is concerned.
Again, however, there is the difficulty of defining sin in our day and age. We must define sin according to the gospel and the official teaching of our church as handed down by the Church's Magisterium and not according to the contaminated standpoint of modern times. Many people live in sin and have a false peace because their conscience was formed not by the gospel but by the spirit of the day. You can live a very respectable life, be law-abiding citizens, and live a good life in people's opinion. But if they are not living the Ten Commandments, the gospel, and the moral teachings of the church, even in one area that involves serious sin, they are probably living in the kingdom of darkness.
The sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist (as well as all other sacraments) are very special weapons that Jesus gave to his church to overcome the kingdom of sin and darkness. We must use these sacraments as Christ intended and not be afraid of the enemy. If you have a serious problem with this, I suggest daily Mass and Communion.
There are many and varied ways in which sin and evil are presented to us in an appealing way. This article introduces some possibilities that many of us rarely think about. I pray that this article will be a source of knowledge and help to those who read it.
A Pastoral Letter from Rev. Donald W. Montrose, Bishop of Stockton, CA
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