(St. Michael the Archangel, protect us from evil.)
As I reached the top of the staircase, intense hatred rushed upon me, almost smothering me with its rage. I gagged as though I were being choked, and the unseen evil fled as swiftly as it had come.
It all started a few months before with that ouija board. My husband was away on business, and I had gone to spend two weeks with my former college roommate. We were working on a writing project together.
I arrived on a Sunday evening, which also happened to be March 25, Feast of the Annunciation….but I hadn’t even been to Mass. I was a confused Catholic, steeped in my sins, ashamed to go to confession, and who with an arrogance which now horrifies me, had decided I would “fix” everything when I was “old”….like maybe 60 or so.
My friend, Anne, brought out the entertainment after dinner….a homemade ouija board. I laughed. My mother had one when I was a child, and none of use had ever been able to make it “work.”
But Anne explained that her husband’s cousin had visited recently and that she had the “gift,” and now Anne had it too. I was completely skeptical until I touched the base of the delicate sherry glass we were using as a pointer, and it literally flew across the table in search of a letter.
I was astounded. There was no doubt that something unworldly was happening. We spent hours at the table, asking questions and getting answers from “deceased relatives,” all of whom claimed to be in Purgatory.
Thus began my entry into the world of the occult– months of deception and confusion, and contact with evil, the potential danger of which I will only fully understand when God reveals it to me in eternity.
God, O God! How can I ever praise Him enough for His Grace and Mercy! Never can I doubt that He can bring great good out of evil…no matter how dark that evil is. He literally brought me to conversion and a return to my faith at the same time that I was caught up in this dangerous foray into the occult.
Anne and I had no intentions of doing anything evil. Neither of us thought that what we were doing was sinful. Anne had placed a rosary on the table and we had prayed a Hail Mary before we touched the sherry glass. But, praying before one enters into sinful activity, especially when it involves opening oneself up to the power of evil spirits is an abuse of prayer.
Why God protected us from worse harm, and even brought great good out of this situation remains another mystery for now. But He did, and briefly, this is how it came about.
As Anne and I continued to “converse” with spirits on the ouija board for several days, we soon became aware that we could also “hear” them in our thoughts. This began slowly, with our “hearing” the words before they were actually spelled out on the board. In our ignorance and foolishness, we were delighted. We could now “talk” with our deceased loved ones without the slow and cumbersome ouija board.
One afternoon, about mid-week, I was working alone on our writing project when suddenly, unexpected words broke into my consciousness. As stated above, I had become used to this by now. But, I was not expecting the message I was given.
“You must go to confession.” I froze. Confession? We had been going to Mass all week. I was talking to souls in Purgatory. I thought things were “cool” between God and me. I thought He had waived the confession thing. Wasn’t I special….even allowed to talk to “holy souls?”
“You must go to confession, or God will be so sad.” This second command cut through my resistance and went straight to my heart. “….God will be so sad.” How could I refuse now? I had longed for Him ever since I could remember….ever since I had committed what my seven-year-old conscience deemed a mortal sin. (Please see https://theholyfaceofjesus.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/on-my-way-to-hell-at-seven/ for a helpful introduction to this current post.)
As it dawned upon me that yes, I would have to obey, I heard a comforting promise, “Don’t worry. We will be with you and give you strength.”
Over the many years since this happened at age 25, I have pondered the above message. At first I thought it was the evil spirits putting me to a test they thought I would fail, and thus enable them to have even more access to me. But, as I have grown in faith and knowledge, and hopefully in God’s Grace throughout the years, I have come to think that it was perhaps my guardian angel……permitted by God to offer an invitation to me. To offer it in such a way that it would be so very hard to refuse. To phrase it almost as though he were speaking to that seven-year-old. The tone of this voice was kind and encouraging……something the other voices seemed unable to imitate.
I immediately told Anne, crying in her arms in terror. She was very supportive and encouraging. She even suggested that we talk to her pastor after I went to confession, and ask him what he thought about what we had been doing with the ouija board, and how we now had voices in our heads.
When Saturday afternoon arrived, Anne drove me to her parish church, and I did what I had avoided for the past 18 years. I entered the dark confessional and knelt down, my heart pounding out of my chest. But, I wasn’t alone. Just like the voice had said, there was a presence with me, a warm and loving and strong presence. The priest slid open the little window and I felt surreal, as I somehow stammered out an honest confession. Although my body was in a panic, my mind and spirit were clear, and strangely calm.
The priest was most kind. Hearing my situation, he gently led me through the Ten Commandments, listening carefully, but asking only a few questions. It was all over in what seemed a brief moment, and then I heard the most beautiful words in the world, “I absolve you from your sins, in the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
But, I hadn’t confessed playing with the ouija board. I didn’t think it was a sin. However, shortly after Father finished hearing confessions, Anne and I entered the sacristy to tell him all about it, and to ask his advice. Although well-intentioned, he did not send us away with the wise counsel we needed. And we were led further into the darkness.
(to be continued……)
To those who will not return to read the next installment, please know this: never, ever, dabble in the occult. Do not even read horoscopes for fun. All of these “fun” things have the capacity to open the door to the powers of evil (fallen angels) which are very real, and which hate you beyond anything you can imagine. As I will explain next time, even a soul in the state of grace can still suffer from the effects of past involvement in the occult.
But God is so faithful, so merciful and loving that there is nothing to fear, if one asks His forgiveness and places themselves in His care, determined to never, ever again go near ouija, boards, tarot cards, crystals, fortune tellers, mediums, etc. Avoid like poison anything even remotely associated with the occult. Please!