Exorcist Diary #112: Upping Your Game
Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai.
I was recently giving a training session for new exorcists. A few were a little skittish, fearing demonic retaliation. I assured them the ministry was safe. God would protect them. But I did add, "You need to up your game." I explained. Being an exorcist is like flying an airplane (I used to be in the Air Force). It is very safe ... but mistakes can be deadly.
First, there is no such thing as a "little" sin. Any sin is awful. It is also a fissure that Satan can drive a wedge into. Do you have a problem with alcohol? Sexuality? Pornography? Disobedience? Arrogance? Self-hatred? Anger? Clean up your act first, and then come back.
The prenotanda (Introduction to the Rite of Exorcism, #13) advises that the ministry "is to be granted only to a Priest endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life." I stress the last part: integrity of life. Satan will have a field day with someone who is not living priesthood with integrity.
Moreover, the exorcist should work diligently and carefully to conform his life to Christ and his Church. We priests typically go to confession at least weekly, say the Divine Office with devotion, do more than one holy hour daily, and are scrupulously obedient to our superiors and the Church. Satan will use the slightest crack in our spiritual lives to get into our heads and wreak havoc.
But there is one trait more than all that is essential. Perhaps it is the only trait that really matters. Trust. The exorcist must trust in the power of Jesus Christ, no matter how dark things look. Jesus is Lord!
We sleep well at night because Jesus is Lord. We walk into every session with confidence because Jesus is Lord. There is no doubt in our minds how this will all end because Jesus is Lord.
It is a beautiful ministry. Jesus is Lord.