One of our spiritual sensitives (SS) sent the attached photo of a nasty large bruise on her body. She had been assisting our priest-exorcists in cleansing a demonically-infested building. Below is our text exchange:
Spiritual Sensitive (SS): Here is the latest development [referring to the photo she sent me].
Priest-exorcist: Is that your arm?
Priest-exorcist: How did it go last night?
SS: Got rid of 8 [demons].
Priest-exorcist: Ok, thanks for doing that.
SS: Then they socked me in the leg.
Sound crazy? Look more closely at the lives of the saints. Many of them were beaten by demons. For example, in a letter to her spiritual director, Gemma Galgani wrote: "The Devil has pursued me in every possible way...He seized me by the hair and dragged me about...He tormented me like this for more than four hours, and thus I passed the night." She was so afflicted by demons that she asked for an exorcism to be performed over her. The priest rightly refused, responding that she wasn’t possessed.
Similarly, Padre Pio often suffered physical beatings by demons: “These devils don’t stop striking me, even making me fall down from the bed. They even tear off my shirt to beat me! But now they do not frighten me anymore. Jesus loves me....” Some of his community members suggested an exorcism for him. Again, it was rightly refused by his superiors.
The possessed and strongly oppressed can also be clawed, scratched and bruised by demons.* In fact, it is one of the discernment questions I typically ask during intake, “Do you have any unexplained bruises or scratches?” I have many photos of such. I have been asked several times, “Why doesn’t God just shut all the demons up in hell and stop them from afflicting people?” Good question. It’s part of a larger question: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to people at all?” In fact, what demons can physically do to us pale in comparison to what humans do to each other. Demons are very restrained in what God allows. They tempt everyone. They can harass and occasionally physically torment people. But they cannot directly kill or maim us, although human beings can and, sadly, do so to each other. Our spiritual sensitive generously assisted us in this exorcism ministry. She paid a price for it, just as Jesus paid the price for us all. In faith, her suffering participates in Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice. God will reward her for it.
*Fr. Cliff Ermatinger, The Trouble with Magic, Padre Pio Press, p. IX.