This coming September 29, 2021, the Church celebrates the feast of St. Michael. In my case, it is the day on which I was accepted by God as an adopted son of the Father and dedicated at Baptism under the protection of St. Michael.
St. Michael’s prayer is one of exorcism (casting out the Devil or evil). This brings up my thoughts about exorcism and how people today seem to casually think they cast out demons. I must admit to being somewhat cautious and almost afraid to bring up the subject.
I am an ordained exorcist, one of the Holy Orders I received from the Catholic Church. This means I have the power to cast out demons that come down from Christ as passed on through the Apostles. It does not mean that I am sinless or better than any other member of the Church Universal. I do not have authority from the Church to conduct exorcisms without the permission of the Bishop and using the ancient prayer of exorcism (at the end of this reflection).
At our Church of Good Shepherd, Tallahassee, Florida, we recite the Prayer to St. Michael every day, sometimes even twice. It is our reliance as a group gathered together in Christ’s name, to pray to Jesus to keep us safe from sin and for protection from the one who “…goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Read the holy text in its entirety to feel the context of how the Devil seeks to dissuade us from the way, the truth, and the life. I Peter 5:8
Advice to Presbyters.*1So I exhort the presbyters* among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed.2Tend the flock of God in your midst, [overseeing] not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.a3Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock.4b And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.*
“God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble.”c6So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.d7Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.e8Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.f9Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.10The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ [Jesus] will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.g11To him be dominion forever. Amen.
12 I write you this briefly through Silvanus,* whom I consider a faithful brother, exhorting you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Remain firm in it.13The chosen one* at Babylon sends you a greeting, as does Mark, my son.14 Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. hhttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/1peter/5
Ten observations that I make when thinking about the Devil are:
Read the passage of I Peter 5 once more, this time seeking the power of the Holy Spirit to overshadow you with what is actually our way of acting. Listen with the ear of your heart (St. Benedict’s Prologue to the Rule).
Here is one of my favorite YouTubes on the Devil from the book, The Little Prince. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXonK8EBqmk
Be careful, lest, through pride, you become what you most abhor. Heaven exists now, so does Hell. Fast and pray that you do not enter into temptation. Luke 22:45-46
Below is the prayer of the Church Universal for exorcism. DO NOT READ IT ALOUD.