[Illustration, Dante's Ninth Circle of Hell, Gustave Dore]
Two of our exorcists were working together with a demonically afflicted person. The night before the first session, each separately had an identical, unusual experience. When they met the next morning, both described being overwhelmed during the previous night by an intense cold. They could not get warm, despite wrapping themselves in layers of clothing. They were freezing on the inside. Their experiences lasted about an hour and then dissipated.
The next day, as they met and prayed with the person who was demonically afflicted, it became clear that she suffered from a number of demonic symptoms including a pervasive isolation. She had no close friends and, although she was a responsible professional, she had no real life-giving human connections. Her emotional life was "cold". Hopefully our exorcists, by experiencing her demonic isolation as "burden bearers", were a help for her carrying her burden and an assist toward liberation.
Isolation is a common characteristic of the possessed. When demons are present, the afflicted typically experience something of their life in hell. In the infernal regions, there are no friendships. There is only an emotional isolation that pierces the soul. In Dante's Inferno, the ninth and lowest region of hell, where Satan himself resides, is depicted as a frozen wasteland.
The road to recovery for the demonically afflicted should eventually include a reconnecting with friends, loved ones, and a community of faith. Heaven is love, unity and peace. Hell is hatred and isolation. All of us need the warmth of human connection, otherwise our life becomes a true hell.