• Msgr. Stephen Rossetti

Exorcism Diary #69: Ecce Crucem Domini

When doing an exorcism, at the end of the session I typically ask the afflict person how it went. This provides much important information. They especially give me valuable feedback on what seems to work and what most strongly affects the particular evil spirits that are present. Different demons respond differently to various sacramentals and prayers.

After a recent session, I asked the afflicted what happened. He responded, "When you held up the crucifix, I felt something leave." He was referring to the moment the exorcist holds up the cross and commands the demons to flee. Perhaps the most famous line, and a part of the rite of exorcism from the earliest days, is that command: Ecce Crucem Domini, Fugite Partes Adversae (Behold the cross of the Lord, take flight you hostile powers).

I have seen Hollywood movies that parody exorcisms and they scoff at the moment the crucifix is held up and these words of command are given. I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. It is a powerful moment when the exorcist, as a representative of the Church founded by Jesus himself and endowed with his full authority, holds up the sign of Satan's defeat and commands him to leave.

So many people today are ill-advisedly afraid of Satan. But if they saw the devil's terror and his abject powerlessness when forced to look upon the crucifix of Jesus, they would not be. Rather, they would reverence the infinite grace of the death and resurrection of Jesus and they would bow before the One who is truly almighty.


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