Author: Lisa Graas
•6/12/2010 12:31:00 PM
This Sunday's readings speak of faith and forgiveness, but also of healing from evil spirits.

In Luke 8:1-3 we read:
Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another,
preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.
Accompanying him were the Twelve
and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza,
Susanna, and many others who provided for them
out of their resources.

All corruption comes from the evil one and only in Jesus is found the power to heal us. The general message of Sunday's readings is the concern that God has for us and the need for us to respond to Him with an obedient faith that welcomes Him fully into our hearts and to reject all that would separate us from Him. We must actively seek His forgiveness and healing which He stands ready to give.  This willingness to open ourselves to God is imperative.  Also important is an understanding of what is truth and what is not truth as we prepare ourselves to meet Him in prayer, to ask Him to meet us where we are, and to help to lift us out of whatever pit we may find ourselves in so that we may have a closer, deep and meaningful relationship with Him.

As I read Sunday's readings, it was the part about Mary Magdalene and her being cured of seven demons that stood out to me. I had only just recently learned of a new book by Human Life International's Fr. Thomas Euteneuer -- Exorcism and the Church Militant.  As one who has dealt with mental illness and delusion, I understand the proclivity some mentally ill people have to attribute symptoms to demonic possession.  In ages past, there has been misunderstanding in the Church, both among the laity and among religious, about whether or not there is a relationship between mental illness and demonic possession.  Often, the mentally ill are not deemed to be in tune with their faith because of a general disregard for, or lack of understanding of, the limitations that mentally ill people sometimes have.

Probably just as often, mentally ill persons who understand that certain behaviors are neither truly their own nor of God may attribute them to a malicious entity, and so it is understandable for them to attribute them to demonic possession.   Because there is still much to learn about mental illness and because there is certainly sometimes confusion on the part of both the afflicted and the healthy who are called to assist them, it's important to have a good understanding of spiritual warfare and all of its known aspects.

Although I have not yet read Fr. Euteneuer's book, I'm going to go ahead and recommend it.  It's been endorsed by Fr. John Corapi as a good resource for priests.  Also, in Fr. Euteneuer's work with Human Life International, I have become convinced of his commitment to defense of the Faith and to the responsible propagation of what is true and beneficial to souls.

I look forward to reading this book as a faithful Catholic who deals with mental illness on a daily basis.  Sometimes, in order to know in fullness what mental illness really is, it is important for one to know in fullness what it is not.  It is my hope that this book will help me to reach a greater understanding of spiritual warfare and become an important part of my journey toward understanding exactly what I am called to deal with in life.

I look forward to reading Exorcism and the Church Militant, by Fr. Thomas Euteneuer.


(Photo: Michael fights rebel angels, by Sebastiano Ricci, c. 1720, public domain)
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