Leaving Anne’s house in Georgia and returning home to North Carolina, I felt completely alone in my predicament. How could I get rid of the voices, and who were they…really?
Summoning all of my courage, I decided to consult one of the two Catholic priests who resided in our small North Carolina town. I didn’t know either of them, but chose the one whose church I had never attended.
He listened kindly as I tried to explain the unexplainable. He then told me about a nun he knew who thought she was having visions, only it was later discovered that everything she had described was pictured in the stained glass windows of her church.
My heart sank. He didn’t believe me, or worse…. he thought I was crazy.
Who would help me now? I lived in an area where there was scarcely any Catholic presence at all, and I decided not to approach the only remaining priest…the Irish one whom my husband liked so much, and to whose parish we belonged.
But God never abandons us, and He had already been working within me to set me free. He whom the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36)
While at Anne’s house, I had already begun praying the rosary. She had to give me one because I no longer even owned a rosary. But now I felt drawn to pray it daily, and to carry it with me and to fall asleep with it cradled in my hands. I prayed often to Our Lady for her protection. I truly turned to her as a child to its Mother.
We had a crucifix on a wall in our home (thanks to my husband), and a large family bible, (also thanks to him.) I began to kneel many times a day before that crucifix and pray the prayers I remembered from childhood. The bible we owned was filled with beautiful pictures of the life of Christ, and I spent hours just sitting in bed looking at them…meditating, without even realizing that I was praying.
Almost immediately, I began going to daily Mass and Holy Communion, and I would stay afterward and pray before the Blessed Sacrament for a long time. For many months, I went to weekly confession.
I felt drawn by an irresistible force to immerse myself in prayer and the Sacraments.
God Himself, through the Power of His Holy Spirit, was gradually setting me free from the snares I had so foolishly wandered into.
How powerful the Sacraments are in bestowing Sanctifying Grace! I realized years later that this was why I felt compelled to go to weekly confession even though I was not in the state of mortal sin.
God was drawing me to all of the sources of grace available to me, and as grace increased in my soul, the grasp of the enemy grew weaker and weaker.
The beginning of my deliverance was something like experiencing a bad cell phone connection. The voices faded in and out. Soon, the fallen angels became so furious that they no longer even pretended to be friendly spirits. They never were. It was all evil all the time…with the possible exception of the instance in which I was gently told to go to confession. But, I cannot even be sure of the source of that.
What I can be sure of is that God’s Goodness and Mercy are beyond anything I could have ever imagined. As I prayed more and more, He began to reveal Himself to me…as He will to anyone who truly seeks Him. How kind and gentle and loving He was!
One of the ways He taught me about Himself was through Father Maurice. He gave me this dear Irish priest to be my pastor, and my close and beloved friend. I had never had a priest friend before, but Father Maurice noticed me praying all alone in the church for so many hours, and made an effort to get to know me. Sometimes he would invite me to breakfast after morning Mass.
He gave me permission to decorate our small church with the beautiful flowers my husband grew in our garden. I would hold my breath as I placed vases of the loveliest of the roses, gladioli, zinnias and daisies by the tabernacle of the King.
I dearly loved Father Maurice for his kindness and his wonderful sense of humor, but most of all for his holiness, and his great love for the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady. I know that God sent him into my life as a type or icon of Himself…a real, physical presence of a holy priest who loved and cared for me as a spiritual father.
And then there was St. Therese. By some miracle, I had included my high school copy of The Story of a Soul with the books I had brought with me when I got married. Once I found it, every page spoke to my heart. Therese was exactly what I needed. Her approach to God with such child-like confidence and intimacy at once astounded and delighted me. I began to talk to Jesus all day long about everything. I had so much to tell Him, since I had never really known Him in my 25 years of life.
Never did I feel judged or condemned. I felt only loved and forgiven…and precious. I sensed an incredible tenderness and sweetness in this God I was coming to know.
In the space of a post, it is impossible to express how perfectly and lovingly God provided for me during the 18 months following my encounter with the dangers of the occult. (It took that length of time for all the voices and other evil influences to depart.)
I have purposely left out some details, so as not to glorify evil. But, in order to warn others, I wish to emphasize that these vile creatures rage with hatred, vile language and blasphemy of God. The momentary experience at the top of the stairs…related in the first post of this series, was an actual sensory experience of their hatred which was so strong that I felt as though I were being strangled by it. God is always in control; these spirits have no power beyond what he permits them.
Our gracious God always knows how to bring good out of evil. He allowed me to learn many lessons through what He permitted me to experience.
Perhaps the most important is that your soul and mine, and every soul which has ever been created is more cherished and loved by God than anything else in all of creation. When St. Peter tells us that we have not been purchased by silver or gold, but by the precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, he is telling us just how much God thinks our souls are worth….the Blood of His Son. There is no higher price.
The devils know this, and although they cannot harm God directly, they seek to deprive Him of His beloved children. They have not one shred of love in their beings, only hatred for God and for us.
Another positive thing which resulted from this experience is that I am acutely aware of evil. I can usually discern quickly if something is not of God…and I thank God for this grace of protection.
Yes, the voices did leave. I later learned from a reliable source that God often applies a “gentle” deliverance, over a period of time, rather than an immediate one. And, this is how it was for me. Grace upon grace destroyed the power of evil, as it always will for anyone who turns to God, no matter how deeply they may have been involved in sin.
One effect which persisted for several years, and which was quite disturbing was a functional difficulty in being able to share this story with others. On a few occasions, I tried to relate what had happened to me to friends, in order to warn them, and I found that my thoughts became somewhat jumbled and difficult to express. I had to concentrate very hard and speak quite slowly to articulate the words. The devil does not wish to be exposed.
Thanks be to God, this last reminder of demonic influence eventually faded away as well.
Twenty years after my ordeal, I was on retreat with a priest I knew well. He was a very holy priest involved in the charismatic renewal, and I asked him if he would give me something of a spiritual “check-up.” I wanted to be sure that the last vestiges of my involvement with the occult were truly gone. He prayed over me, and asked me to say such things as the Holy Name of Jesus, and to gaze upon the crucifix he was wearing. He then blessed me and told me that he saw no residual signs of my past experience. God knew I needed this final word of peace from His representative on earth.
I am so grateful to Jesus Our Lord for His Grace and Mercy. His Love is truly beyond all telling. If you have been deceived as I was, by evil masquerading as good, go to God and ask for His forgiveness. Seek the help of a priest. You can be set free, no matter what you have done. Come into His Light!
….God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. If we say that we share in God’s life while we are living in darkness, we are lying, because we are not living the truth. But if we live in light, as he is in light, we have a share in each other’s life, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:5-7)
While I was in the midst of writing this three part series, I came across a week of Women of Grace television shows on EWTN which were dedicated to Healing and Deliverance through the Power of the Holy Spirit.
The guest priest, Father Christopher Crotty,CPM, is a Father of Mercy. He has a website with books, CD’s and other helpful materials related to healing and deliverance. Of the many important topics he discussed on the program, I was most interested in what he described as the five main portals through which the devil usually enters someone’s life.
Here is the list:
Any involvement with the occult (mediums, ouija boards, tarot cards, crystals, etc.)
Mind altering practices such as transcendental meditation, abuse of drugs and alcohol, etc.)
Extreme acts of violence (especially gang related violence.)
Perverse sexual acts.
Altering the appearance of one’s body so as to disfigure it by excessive tattooing, multiple piercings, and especially implanting objects to make oneself more closely resemble an animal. (I once saw a girl who had “forked” her tongue, so that it would resemble a snake’s tongue.) There is also a fad of having “fangs” as in vampire fangs, attached to one’s teeth, or even having the teeth themselves actually reshaped this way.
If you know anyone engaged in the above practices, please warn them of the danger.