Tuesday, 4 June 2013
The danger of reading too much on the latter stages of union and great holiness, is that people imagine that they are holy than they are. Great evils have happened with those who think they are hearing God or having experiences of God when these are from other, evil spirits.
So many people imagine they are in high states, without the long process of passive purgation.
Here are some warnings from Garrigou-Lagrange:
So many people imagine they are in high states, without the long process of passive purgation.
Here are some warnings from Garrigou-Lagrange:
The persecutions of the devil comprise all that one may have to suffer from him: temptations, obsession, possession. On this subject we must recall, first of all, the theological principle which throws light on these problems: the action of the devil does not go beyond the sensible part of the soul and cannot be exercised immediately on the intellect or the will.
This is an important point and where charismatics go off. The intellect and the will slowly become corrupt if one persists in sin.
St. Thomas (2) says in substance that, since every agent acts for an end which is proportionate to it, the order or subordination of agents corresponds to the order of the ends. God alone can incline our intellect to universal truth and our will to the universal good, and finally to Himself, the Sovereign Good. Therefore He alone can act immediately on our intellect and will, according to their natural inclination, which comes from Him and which He preserves.
People choose to say yes or no to God.
Solus Deus illabitur in anima.
With the permission of God, however, the devil can attack us by acting on our imagination, our sensibility, on external objects, and on our body to incline us to evil. (3) He often limits himself to temptation by way of suggestion and more or less impetuous movements; but occasionally his action goes as far as obsession and in certain cases even to possession.
Choice involves following a way of life. If one's lifestyle is contrary to God's will, this state leads to one cutting the sources of grace in one's life. One has to want to give up sin.
In these matters two excesses must be avoided: attribution to the devil of what proceeds from the triple concupiscence or from certain morbid states, or, on the contrary, unwillingness to admit his intervention in any case, in spite of what Scripture and tradition tell us about it.
We shall sum up here the traditional teaching on obsession and possession.
Again, too many lay people are confused about these terms, which is why I quote this great author.
Obsession is a series of temptations that are more violent and prolonged than ordinary temptations. Rarely does the devil act only on the exterior senses; more frequently, through the imagination; he provokes lively impressions of the sensible appetites in order to trouble the soul. He may act on the sight by loathsome apparitions or, on the contrary, seductive apparitions; (4) on the hearing, by making a racket (5) or by making the person hear blasphemous or obscene words; (6) on the touch, by inflicting blows or by embraces of a nature to lead to evil.(7) There are cases in which these apparitions are not corporeal, but imaginary or produced, like hallucination, by nervous overexcitement.
Remember, many of the saints, such as the holy St. John Vianney, were troubled by the evil one.
The direct action of the devil on the imagination, memory, and passions, may produce obsessing images, which persist in spite of energetic efforts and which lead to anger, to very lively antipathies, or to dangerous affections, or again to discouragement accompanied by anguish. Those whom the enemy of good persecutes in this way feel at times that their imagination is as if bound by thick shadows, and that over their heart rests a weight which oppresses them. This powerlessness is entirely different from that proceeding from the divine action which, in bestowing infused contemplation, renders discursive meditation more or less impracticable.
A simple rule: if something makes one depressed or sad, that thought or impression is not from God.
The enemy of God, in his jealous desire to imitate the divine action, seeks to cause the effect of God's action to deviate, in such a way that, in the passive purifications, the soul occasionally finds itself between the special action of God, which inclines it to a spiritual life more freed from the senses, and an inverse action, which in its way strikes it with powerlessness in order to cause the effect of the divine action to deviate and to throw the soul into utter confusion.
Confusion is not from God, and if one is experiencing much confusion, a spiritual director and even a psychological counselor may be needed.
If the temptations of which we are speaking are sudden, violent, and persistent, and no illness explains them, a special influence of the devil may be seen in them.
Obsession may be so strong that it deserves the name of diabolical siege. Scaramelli says: "In the diabolical siege, the devil stays near the person whom he besieges as a captain does near a place which he surrounds closely with his troops. But he has no stable and permanent power over the body of the obsessed person (which occurs only in possession); and once the time of purification is ended, the devil himself raises the siege and goes off without exorcisms, without injunction." (8)
The charismatics do not get this.
By what sign may one recognize that obsession is related to the passive purification of the senses? Obsession may be linked with the passive purification of the senses if the obsessed person works seriously at his perfection, in particular if he is humble, obedient, charitable, and if he has the three signs of the night of the senses indicated by St. John of the Cross. On the other hand, astute, very subtle persons may, for interested motives, seek to make themselves pass for victims of the devil, in such a way especially as to excuse excessively compromising exterior faults which they commit.
In other words, as with Job, God allows pain and suffering in the purgative time of the passive purgation.
The charismatics do not see that God allows pain for purification. I have heard charismatics say that if a person is not healed or is in pain, there must be sin. Of course, that is purpose of purification.
Some people who are false seers lead people out of the Church in these guises.
In dealing with obsessed persons, the director should be prudent and kind; he should not believe too readily in a true obsession; he should remind the penitent, first of all, how temptation must be resisted, pointing out that it is an occasion to acquire great merits by a salutary, firm, at times heroic reaction, and by the practice of humility. He should remind the penitent that the principal remedies are humble, trusting prayer, recourse to the Immaculate Virgin, to St. Michael, to the guardian angel, the trusting use of the sacraments and sacramentals, scorn of the devil, who may indeed bark, but who can bite only those who draw near him.
The good priest understands the heart and mind and soul of those who are being perfected.
The director should also remind his penitent that, if in the violence of temptation disorders are produced without any consent, there is no sin in them. In case of doubt, he will judge that there is no serious sin when the person concerned is habitually well disposed. If he sees that the obsession is part of the passive purification of the senses or of the spirit, he will give appropriate counsels, which we recalled earlier in the course of this study. (9)
There is no sin if a person is suffering. There is no sin if God is perfecting a person to destroy sins.
Lastly, if diabolical obsession is morally certain or very probable, the priest may employ privately the exorcisms prescribed by the Roman Ritual or shortened forms. To avoid agitating the penitent or overexciting him, it is best, as a rule, not to inform him beforehand that one is going to pronounce over him the words of private exorcism; it is sufficient to tell him that one is going to recite over him a prayer approved by the Church.
Even nuns in convents can experience such horrible obsessions, and need the care of priests who are exorcists.
What is possession? By possession the devil really dwells in the body of the victim, instead of only making his action felt from the outside, as in obsession. Moreover, by thus acting from within, he not only hinders the free use of a man's faculties, but he himself speaks and acts by the organs of the possessed person, without the latter being able to hinder him from doing so, and even as a rule without his perceiving it.
Possession is more rare but more and more common with young people getting into the occult and people of a certain age getting into New Age nonsense.
When we say that the devil dwells in the body of a person, we do not mean that he is there like the soul itself which informs the body, but like a motor which, through the body, acts on the soul. He acts directly on the members of the body, makes them execute all sorts of movements, and he acts indirectly on the faculties in the measure in which they depend on the body for their operations.
Two states are distinguished in possessed persons: a state of crisis, with contortions, outbursts of rage, blasphemous words; and a state of calm. During the crisis, the patient generally loses, it seems, the feeling of what is taking place in him, for afterward he has no memory of what the devil has, they say, done through him. Nevertheless, as an exception, there are possessed persons who remain aware of what is taking place in them during the crisis. This was, it seems, the case with Father Surin, who, while exorcising the Ursulines of Loudun, himself became possessed or at least obsessed. He said: "In this state, there are very few actions in which am I free." (10)
In the state of calm, the devil seems to have withdrawn, although there may still remain at times chronic infirmities which physicians do not succeed in curing.
As a rule possession is more properly a punishment than a purifying trial. However, there are exceptions, like the case of Father Surin, that of Blessed Eustochium of Padua, beatified by Clement XIII, on March 22, 1760,(11) that of Marie des Vallees, spiritual daughter of St. John Eudes.(12) Mention must also be made of the more recent case of Sister Mary of Jesus Crucified, an Arabian Carmelite who died in the odor of sanctity at Bethlehem in 1878, and the cause of whose beatification has been introduced. She was twice the victim of possession, or at least of a very strong obsession, first at the Carmel of Pau, later at that of Mangalore.(13) There have been other similar cases, in which possession was a concomitant phenomenon of the passive purification of the senses or that of the spirit, in souls that offered themselves as victims for sinners.
What are the signs of real possession? Great care must be taken to distinguish it from certain cases of monomania and of mental alienation which resemble it. According to the Roman Ritual (De exorcizandis obsessis a daemonio), there are three principal signs: "To speak an unknown language, making use of several words of this language or understanding him who speaks it; to disclose distant and hidden things; to manifest strength which surpasses the natural powers of the subject, considering his age and state. These and other similar signs, when united in great number, are the strongest indications of possession." They are particularly striking, for example, if a person who does not know either Latin or theology or knows only their rudiments, speaks in correct and even elegant Latin about the most difficult problems of theology, like that of the gratuity of predestination.(14) It is true that people adduce cases of morbid exaltation which awaken in the memory forgotten languages or fragments that have been heard; but in this question the Ritual demands much more, as we have just seen. Accompanying possession at times is levitation, a preternatural phenomenon which manifests itself under circumstances of such a nature that they cannot be attributed to God or to the good angels, but must be attributed to the devil. According to tradition, this was the case with Simon Magus who, they say, was lifted into the air and fell down.
Another indication of possession is that on coming into contact with a sacred object or on the recitation of certain liturgical prayers, the person believed to be possessed becomes furious and blasphemes horribly. This sign is more significant when the experience is brought about without the knowledge of the person, in such a way that the reaction is not produced by him, by his ill will, or by a desire to simulate possession.
It has been pointed out, apropos of these signs, that in extreme hysteria there are analogous phenomena.(15) Analogous, it is true, but not specifically similar; in hysteria the patient does not discourse in a language of which he is ignorant and in a learned manner on problems of which he has no knowledge at all, such as predestination or the efficacy of grace. Besides, the devil can produce either nervous diseases, or exterior phenomena analogous to those of neuroses; he may also make use of an existing illness and reduce the patient to a state of exasperation.
What are the remedies for possession? The Ritual indicates the following: (I) The possessed person must do penance and purify his conscience by a good confession. (2) He should receive Holy Communion as often as possible, according to the advice of a prudent and enlightened confessor. The more pure and mortified a soul is, the less hold the devil has on it; Holy Communion introduces into the soul the Author of grace who is the conqueror of Satan. However, Holy Communion should be given only in moments of calm. (3) The possessed person should often implore the mercy of God by prayer and fasting. (4) With a great spirit of faith he should make use of sacramentals, in particular of the sign of the cross and holy water.(16) He should have trusting recourse to the invocation of the holy name of Jesus, of His humility, His immense love. (5) Lastly, the exorcisms were instituted for the deliverance of possessed persons in virtue of the power of driving out devils which Jesus Christ left to the Church. But solemn exorcism may be performed only by priests chosen by the bishop of the place and with his special authorization.
Only priests who are exorcists appointed by bishop can perform exorcisms. Period. If they have a team of lay people, those lay people have professional training, as in the States. Under canon law — Canon 1172 specifically — only those priests who get permission from their bishops can perform an exorcism after proper training.
The Ritual counsels exorcists to prepare themselves for this difficult function by prayer, fasting, and a humble and sincere confession, so that the devil may not reproach them with their own sins. In addition, solemn exorcism should, at least as a rule, be performed only in a church or chapel. The exorcist should be accompanied by grave and pious witnesses, sufficiently strong to overpower the possessed person if necessary. Lastly, the exorcist should proceed to the interrogations with authority, rejecting all that is useless. He summons the devil or the devils to declare the reason for the possession and to tell when it will end. To oblige the enemy of God to do this, the exorcist must redouble the adjurations which seem to irritate the devil most, that is, the invocations of the holy names of Jesus and Mary. If the evil spirit makes sarcastic and derisive answers, silence must be imposed upon him with authority and dignity. The witnesses should be few in number, they must not ask questions, but should pray silently. The exorcisms should be continued for several hours and even for several days, with intervals of respite, until the deliverance, which should be followed by prayers of thanksgiving.
Enough said on this subject....
When I studied the documents, these errors were obvious. Surprise, surprise, Protestants were invited to be part of the committees.
No need for conspiracies here--just reality therapy.
I cannot watch the Queen's Coronation, which is on now. The falsity of the increasing protestantizing of old so-called Catholic positions in the Anglican Church is so sad.
More and more, the Anglican Church has separated itself with Catholic teaching, while moving more and more into radical secular positions.
Years ago, I was the Catholic lay representative to read Scripture at a celebration with the Royal Princess in attendance. There were two ceremonies.
I am not sure I could take part today.
The Internet was down for over 14 hours in Kent and the London area. It is working now, obviously.
A reader sent me this important link.
This is the idea that Soviet Government had towards religious people. Pay attention to this, folks.
Martyrs of Barbastro
Everything started with the revolt of 17 July 1936. In the city of Barbastro (Huesca) life went on in a serene tension. 59 Claretian missionaries, most of them young students, trusted in the words of Col. Villalba: "The troops are in the barracks. At a moment's notice they will re-spond." On the 20th, Monday, at 5:30 p.m., they came to search the house. All the members of the community were sent to jail amidst insults and threats. The jail was full to bursting. In the same square there was the school of the Piarist Fathers, with a relatively large hall. That would be the prison for the Claretians. They still could hear words of hope from the Piarists, but soon the scenery began to get gloomy. The few mattresses were taken away, they could not change and they had to wash their handkerchiefs with their drinking water. Only three times could they shave in three and a half weeks. All together they were 49 persons in a hall 25 metres long by 6 metres wide. That month of August was especially hot.
Two Argentinean students who were liberated a few days ahead of the shootings have conveyed to us the moments of moral suffering to which they were submitted. One of them, Parussini, wrote: "One day they told us that the supper would be our last meal. Once I heard the happy news, I looked for a peace of paper and I wrote a few farewell lines...." More than four times they received the general absolution believing that death was imminent. The long prison days provided time for many things, including anecdotal memories and humour. They were always full of peace, calmness and joy. One of the Argentinean students declared: "They con-stantly repeated to us: We do not hate your persons. We hate your profession, your black habits, your cassock." The cause for imprisonment and execution was clear.
On Monday, August 10, although they did not know it, the last week of their life began. Eight days earlier, they had already shot Fr. Superior and the two consultors together with other priests and lay persons from the city. They had also shot the Bishop of Barbastro, Msgr. Asensio Barroso. On August 11 they received the visit of a representative of the committee. The accusa-tions of possessing weapons and planning conspiracies could not hold water in the face of the young religious' innocence. They were forbidden to speak in a loud voice and to group them-selves more than two at a time. The Rector of the Piarists brought some books to them, but there was no more time to read: only to prepare for death.
The 12th of August would be an unforgettable day for our young men. It was 7 o'clock in the morning. Someone from the committee burst into the hall asking for the names. The black list was already made. One of the two Argentinean students wrote later: "All confessed for the last time and spent the day in prayer... All were happy to suffer something for the sake of God. All forgave their executioners and promised to pray for them in heaven." Reading their writings gives one the shivers. They wrote in music books, on the piano stool, on chocolate wrappers: "With my heart full of holy joy, I trustfully await the greatest moment of my life: martyrdom." "They have found no political cause. They have made not a single trial. Happily we all die for Christ, for his Church and for the faith of Spain." "Dear parents, I die a martyr for Christ and for the Church. I die at peace fulfilling my sacred duty. Good bye, I'll see you in heaven." That day they took away the six eldest.
On a chocolate wrap the last words of the whole group to Mother Congregation are kept for posterity. They are headed by a crucial name: Faustino Pérez, student. The farewell reads:
"August 12, 1936, in Barbastro. Six of our companions are already martyrs: Soon we hope to be, too. But before this happens, we want to make it clear that we die forgiving those who are taking away our life and offering it for the Christian ordering of the working world, for the definitive reign of the Catholic Church, for our beloved Congregation and for our beloved families.THIS IS THE FINAL OFFERING TO THE CONGREGATION, FROM HER MARTYR CHILDREN!"(Forty signatures follow, preceded by cheers to Christ and to the Heart of Mary). And it ended: "Live immortal, beloved Congregation. As long as you have children in the dungeons such as those you have here in Barbastro, have no doubt that your fate is eternal. Would that I had fought in your ranks: Blessed be God!"
The night from the 12th to the 13th was going to be the last for some of them. All had confessed and prayed. The foreign students had heard their last confidences and had wiped away the last tears. All had lain down to rest. Two hours had not yet passed when, at midnight, the doors were opened and two militiamen entered with ropes already stained with blood. "At-tention, all those who are over 26, come down from the stage," No one moved, as there was no one that age. Nor 25, either. Then they put on the lights and read the first twenty names. After each name, a firm voice: "Present!" and they descended from the stage. They formed a single file along the wall, while their hands were bound at their backs, and their elbows two by two. "All were composed and at peace: their faces had something that seemed supernatural, impos-sible to describe. In all of them could be seen the same courage, the same enthusiasm; no one fainted or gave signs of cowardice." Those who remained on the stage looked upon the scene with astonishment. They heard some forgive those who were binding them; others were seen taking the ropes from the floor, kissing them and giving them to those who were binding them. Some one shouted: "Farewell, brothers, we'll see you in heaven!" One of the guards com-mented addressing those who remained on the stage: "You still have one whole day to eat, laugh, enjoy, dance, and do whatever you please. Tomorrow at this same time we shall come looking for you, as we have done with these, and we will bring you for a walk in the cool air up to the cemetery. Now you may turn the lights off and go to sleep." The shots were heard by those who remained in the hall.
At last, at 5:30 in the afternoon, they freed the two Argentinean students Hall and Pa-russini who, with tears in their eyes, said good bye to those who a short time later would die martyrs. Now we have to mention one name: Faustino Perez. Heroism was evident in him with more forceful signs. Among other things, it was he who wrote the farewell dedicated to the Congregation, a farewell one cannot read without feeling a deep shiver of emotion:
"Beloved Congregation. The day before yesterday, the 11th, six of our brothers died with a generosity befitting martyrs. Today, the 13th, twenty more have won the palm of victory, and tomorrow, the 14th, the remaining twenty-one of us expect to die. Glory to God! Glory to God! And how nobly and heroically your sons have borne themselves, beloved Congregation! We are spending the day encouraging one another and praying for our enemies and for our beloved Institute. When the moment comes to designate the next victims, we all feel a holy serenity and an eagerness to hear our names called, so that we can join the ranks of the chosen. We have been looking for-ward to this moment with generous impatience. When it came to those already chosen, we have seen some of them kiss the ropes that bound them, while others spoke words of pardon to -the armed mob. As they drove off in the van towards the cemetery, we could hear them shouting, 'Long live Christ the King!' while the angry mob answered, 'Death to him! Death to him!' -but nothing daunted them. They are your sons, beloved Congregation, these young men, surrounded by pistols and rifles, yet they have the calm courage and daring to cry out 'Long live Christ the King!' on their way to the cemetery. Tomorrow the rest of us will go, and we have already cho-sen the passwords we will shout, even as the shots are being fired: to the Heart of our Mother, to Christ the King, to the Catholic Church, and to you, the common Mother of us all. My com-rades tell me that I must begin the 'Viva's' and they will respond. I will shout at the top of my lungs, and in our enthusiastic cries you will be able to discern how much we love you, beloved Congregation, since we will bear the memory of you even into those deep regions of suffering and death. We all die happy, with no regrets or misgivings. We all die praying God that the blood that falls from our wounds will not be shed in vengeance, but will rather transfuse your veins and spur your growth and expansion throughout the world. Farewell, beloved Congregation. Your sons, the martyrs of Barbastro, greet you from prison and offer you our sufferings and anguish as a holocaust of expiation for our failings and as a witness to our faithful, generous and everlasting love. The martyrs of tomorrow, the 14th, are fully aware that they die on the eve of the Assumption. And what a special awareness it is! We are dying because we wear the cas-sock, and we are dying precisely on the same day we were invested in it. The martyrs of Barbas-tro greet you, as do I, the last and least worthy of their number, Faustino Pérez, CMF. Long life Christ the King! Long live the Heart of Mary! Long live the Congregation! Farewell, beloved Institute. We are going to heaven to pray for you. Farewell, farewell!"
In spite of all threats, the entire 13th and the 14th went by with no incidents. When they were sleeping on the night from the 14th to the 15th of August, a group burst into the hall. All rose as one man. Bro. Raymond, the community cook, was excluded. They embraced each other while they were being bound and beaten. It was night when the 17 young men left the hall-jail. They were singing as they boarded the van. One fell on the van itself, for the blows with the rifle. Positioned by a steep slope, some standing, others kneeling, some with their arms in cross, others with the rosary or a crucifix in their hands, heard the last proposition: "You are still on time. What do you prefer: to go free to the battlefront or to die? Muffled by the gunshots, the answers were heard: TO DIE! LONG LIVE CHRIST THE KING!" There was almost absolute quiet. From the shrine of El Pueyo the blessed Virgin, on her feast day, with infinite tenderness opened her arms and received them in her HEART.
Some simple monuments occupy now the exact places of their martyrdom. Their re-mains rest in the church of Barbastro, in their new mausoleum. 51 in all. The story of these young men has gone round the world. Their Congregation has taken care of their memory like a treasure. Today finally we can all recognise publicly their holiness. They are "Beati," Blessed. Their feast day is celebrated on August 13.
These were the Pope's words during the ceremony of their beatification on 25 October 1992:
"It is a whole seminary that generously and courageously face their offering of martyr-dom to the Lord... All the testimonies received allow us to assert that these Claretians died be-cause they were Christ's disciples, because they would not deny their faith or religious vows. Therefore, with the blood they shed they inspire us all to live and die for the word of God we have been called to proclaim. The martyrs of Barbastro, following their founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret, who had also suffered an attempt against his life, experienced the same desire to shed their blood for love of Jesus and Mary, expressed in this frequently sung exclamation: 'For you, my Queen, to give my blood.' The same saint drew up a plan of life for his religious: 'A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set everyone on fire with God's love'."
These are their names: Philip of Jesus Munárriz, Joseph Amorós, Joseph Badía, John Baixeras, Xavier L. Bandrés, Joseph Blasco, Joseph Brengaret, Raphael Briega, Manuel Buil, Antolín Calvo, Sebastian Calvo, Thomas Capdevila, Stephen Casadeval, Francis Castán, Wenceslao Claris, Eusebio Codina, John Codinach, Peter Cunill, Gregory Chirivas, Antony Dalmau, John Díaz, John Echarri, Louis Escalé, Joseph Falgarona, Joseph Figuero, Peter Gar-cía, Raymond Illa, Louis Lladó, Hilary Llorente, Manuel Martínez, Louis Masferrer, Michael Masip, Alphonse Miquel, Raymond Novich, Joseph Ormo, Secundino Ortega, Joseph Pavón, Faustino Pérez, Leoncio Pérez, Salvador Pigem, Sebastian Riera, Edward Ripoll, Joseph Ros, Francis Roura, Theodore Ruiz de Larrinaga, John Sánchez, Nicasio Sierra, Alphonse Sorribes, Manuel Torras, Atanasio Viadaurreta and Agustín Viela.