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Exorcist Diary #241: Wasted Suffering

["Flagellation of Christ," Peter Paul Rubens, 17th Century]

Late at night, one of our exorcists was attacked with a physical torment of the body. It felt like a kind of anxiety in which his body was being squeezed. He suspected it might have a demonic origin, especially given some of our intense cases. So, he said aloud, "I offer up this suffering for 20 conversions to the faith, 20 people liberated from demons, 20 conversions of witches, and for 20 priests, if it be God's will." Immediately, the physical attacks ceased completely. He thought, "Too bad. I was hoping for these graces and conversions!" I guess the demons weren't willing to make the trade.

Similarly, I remember not too long ago, we were in the midst of an intense session and the possessed person spit in my face (there was alot of saliva!). So I said, "I offer it for the liberation of this person." Again, he spit in my face. I said again, "I offer this for his liberation." A third time, he tried to spit but missed. I responded, "You missed. Try harder." It stopped. Soon after, he was liberated.

One of our experienced exorcists came up with this approach-- saying aloud that we offer up our little demonic-induced sufferings for specific intentions, especially for the liberation of the afflicted person at hand. It's a good use of these little humiliations and demonstrates the truth that whatever evil is endured in faith, God transforms into a grace. This offering up of suffering is ultimately a reminder to the demons of their defeat on the Cross.

We have many people who come to us each day in torment. We feel very bad for them and offer what advice and help we can. But suffering is a part of everyone's life. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once lamented that there is so much wasted suffering in our world. Why not, as many were taught so many years ago when faith was the norm, "Offer it up?"


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