[Return of the Prodigal Son, Pompeo Batoni, 1773]
We had been "pounding away" at the demonic presence for almost two years and "M", a young woman in her 20's, was much, much better. The night attacks had ceased; the demonic marks on her body had mostly disappeared; she tolerated an exorcism without completely going "out;" and during the day she had many more lucid moments. But the demons were still hanging onto something.
At one point, she asked for a meeting with her parents. As the meeting progressed, it became clear that she wanted to tell them something but was having a hard time getting it out. The parents were patient and encouraged her to take her time. Finally, with much fear and trepidation, she confessed that she had not been honest with them. She had covered up many ugly past behaviors and painted them over with self-aggrandizing lies. She had been living a lie.
To her surprise, her parents willingly forgave her and told her how much they loved her. Allaying her fears, they said they would never leave her and she would always be their beloved daughter. Shortly thereafter, arriving back at her apartment, M vomited up huge masses of black globs. Typically, a sign of the lifting of witches' curses and/or casting out of demons. The black masses actually appeared to be moving and undulating. M was then tired but felt a great weight had been lifted. While the demons were not completely gone, a critical milestone had been passed.
Satan is called the "Father of Lies," (Jn 8:44), Mendacii Pater in the Rite of Exorcism. I have noticed that demons will sometimes visibly react when the phrase Mendacii Pater is spoken aloud in the Rite. No doubt they feel it as a stinging rebuke and the truth which they are loathe to face. Not only are they compulsive and habitual liars, their entire life has become a lie.
Unwittingly, by living a lie herself, M gave the demons a hold on her. Facing the truth and confessing her sin, plus the forgiving love of her parents, was a liberating moment. M's next step was to take her repentance into the confessional to receive the sacramental graces.
M is making steady progress. But like all processes of liberation for the possessed, there are important challenges along the way. M faced this critical challenge of facing and letting go of the lies in her life with honesty and courage. I am proud of her and her parents. I have great confidence she will be soon fully liberated.
Satan is the Father of Lies. Jesus is the "Truth" (Jn 14:6). We are set free from Satan's grasp when we confess our sins and live in the light of the Truth.