Holy Halloween!

When I was in high school, I loved to investigate ghosts, haunted houses, the paranormal…all that goes bump in the night. I use to do all the strange specter spying that was available: looking at the ghost pictures, watching the videos, listening to the recordings, finding the haunted houses, a natural Ghost buster! I was truly fascinated by these phantasms. I did all these things with this presumption that, yes there were real, but there was still li a wall between me and them. It was only dangerous if I put myself physical in a place that was dangerous like a haunted house or something. That’s what happened in all the movie, right? Also, I had my faith in God and so everything was going to be ok. The latter statement is indeed true…with a condition.
The former, however, I was dead wrong about. You see, ghosts and spirits since they don’t have bodies are not limited to a particular space and location as we are. They are present where they act. If they find they are welcomed, invited, they go there… Read Luke 11:24-26. My excessive curiosity was giving an open door and they were taking it. Of course, it wasn’t the overly dramatized hollywood view of spirits, but it was what they are more centered on: they are oppressive, they try to seperate us from God. I started to feel a greater spiritual weight, something like being watched, I felt more constricted, less joyful, more agitated, less willing to pray. There was even one time at night when it was completely black in my room and I was not wanting to do my night prayers before bed and suddenly I saw what looked like red eyes reflecting of the clock opposite my bed looking at me…
I realize a mediocre faith, or even just the sheer fact that I believed in God was not enough. After all, Adam and Eve were the most perfect believers in God and the devil still came to them. The Cathecism 2725 says: Prayer is both a gift of grace and a determined response on our part. It always presupposes effort. the great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. the “spiritual battle” of the Christian’s new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.
I had to choose for myself Christ and invite Him more and more into my life and thus have power over this spiritual realm around me. But lets take a moment to determine what are these spirits, these ghosts. I’m referring more to the things portrayed as walking through houses and such. 3 main explanations exist: 1) the rarest occurrence is that they are angels or the soul of a loved one back to deliver a message. God does not normally permit this because they are in heaven with Him but it is possible that some ghosts are angels. 2) the second most common is that they are demons. They are either trying to trick us and deceive us or they have been invited somewhere by some opening like a curse or an occult practice. I’ll talk a little more about this in a bit. 3) the most common explanation is that ghosts are souls in purgatory. They are living out a purgative time which sometimes can take place on earth. Sometimes they will return to a place they resided if there was some unrest, sometimes they may come to a loved one to remind them that they have passed and need pray or sometimes they are actually living out their purgatory on earth by doing something now that they never did. St. Padre Pio use to see the souls of dead monks cleaning the chapel because they were lazy in doing their duty on the earth so their purgatory is to finish their work.
The first and third are of no danger to us in anyway. The souls in purgatory simply want and need our prayers and the more prayers we make for the souls in purgatory, the quicker they leave. The second group, the demons, are a constant enemy. They desire for us to separate our relationship with God through sin and ultimately to join them in Hell. Now, they have no power to do this on their own but only in as much as they are given permission they will take it. Catechism 409 This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one”302 makes man’s life a battle:
The whole of man’s history has been the story of our combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.
The demons are legalistic spirits, they can only go where they have jurisdiction and permission. Hence, they have to be permitted and invited into our lives. How do they do it? The same way with Adam and Eve. They enter a dialog and they lie. Jesus called Satan the ‘Father of lies’ and he strives to pry into our lives through our hurts, our wounds, our curiosity, and replace the live-giving word and blessing of God with the ‘anit-word’ the lie about who God is, who we are, what is good, etc. If we consent to these lies by sinning, we are giving an act of our will to let that into our lives. Once those lies have taken root in us, we have accepted them and made them a crutch they become a wedge in the door, a certain “free spot on the bus” of our hearts that they will gladly take. These lies are meant to discourage us and turn us away from the path of following God. The more we willing sin the more our actions and will are conforming to the lie and giving access. Also, the more we sin, the more we are choosing to seperate ourselves from God, which is what they are all about. We are doing the work for them. We must 1) see that entry ways we may have in our lives: sins, bad habits, practicing occult things, playing with Ouija boards and the like and then repent and give it over to God; 2) we must see if we have left any wounds in our lives through hurts, unforgiveness etc. Just like wounds in our body that if we leave them open can be infections so too can immaterial wounds. We must work on forgiveness, we must bring these hurts to Jesus to heal. 3) What lies have we accepted? Has it been something that came from another person’s hurtful words? Has it been something our parents’ told us about ourselves? Do we believe that we are not good, we are not worthy that we will only be loved if we are perfect? What do we think will make us happy? Look at the lies that are specific to your life and renounce it so that God can fill you with his truth: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”- John 8:36
Finally a word about the time we are in now: Halloween. I will not go much into the history and story of Halloween but let it suffice to say that this time of year brings more darkness. We are in the time between the Fall Equanox and the Winter Solstice(the shortest day of the year) we visibly see the lessening of light. Many ancient cultures saw this as the time of the harvest, and the harvest of souls: death. They would say there was a thinning of the veil between living and the dead. However, there is also more spiritual darkness as well. With so many cultures giving invitations to this darkness and even, sadly, an increase of attention and focus to evil and the devil around this time, there definetly is an open door culturally to the evil spirits. More over, Halloween is the day when more sacrileges to the blessed sacrament take place than any other day of the year! With all this, we must light lamps in the darkness. It is no coincidence that the Church celebrates All Saints Day, the stars in the night on November 1 and then prays for all the souls in Purgatory on November 2, all Souls Day.
So maybe you have noticed things getting a little more difficult around now: work is harder, family life isnt how it should be, you or people you know are acting strangely, you struggle in certain areas of life more, etc. This could be caused by the Spiritual Warfare that is at play now. We need to increase our prayer, go to confession (which can do more damage to the kingdom of the devil than an exorcise), make reparations to the blessed Sacrament, go to adoration, pray to the saints, say the St. Michael prayer often. These are all great practices and maybe we can slowly make Halloween, All Hallow’s Eve, Holy again.20151022GhostStartrails1024

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