Casting out Demons

We learn in Mark's Gospel how Jesus went about the countryside commanding unclean spirits.

In Matthew he thrusts the demons into a herd of swine who fling themselves headlong over a cliff and drown in the river.

The authority of Jesus caused a stir in people. They asked him to leave their town. Perhaps they were too frightened by what they had seen, a man in seizures screaming in the plural that Jesus was the Holy One of God or the herd of swine driven off the cliff. Swine aren't quiet when spooked. They shriek when you chase them; imagine the sound they made when the demons entered them. It would have curdled your blood.

And yet, people continued to bring victims to Jesus for healing.

I love the 40 Days for Life because it's a prayer vigil. It's standing as Christ in a place where the powers of darkness have their stronghold. It's bringing Christ throughout the country where healing needs to take place: Healing from ignorance, deceipt, hatred, and violence. It's a powerful stand in solidarity at the gates of hell. Fr. Euteneuer writes of the weapon we use when we make this stand:

Mary's Rosary is a powerful spiritual weapon for three main reasons: it is biblical, humble and repetitive. As St. Louis Marie de Montfort noted, the Rosary is not just a devotion to Mary - rather, it is a prayer through Mary directly to the Heart of Christ! That is the way Catholics pray it. Protestants, who reject Catholic prayers as being too Mary-centered, need to be shown that the Rosary consists of purely biblical prayers (the Our Father and the Hail Mary)! We also need to educate them that the goal of the prayer is meditation on the Mystery of Christ revealed to us in Scripture and Tradition. With the addition of the Luminous Mysteries by Pope John Paul II in 2002, the biblical reflection on the Life and Ministry of Christ is complete.

The Christian virtue of humility inevitably shatters the devil's pride, and to that end, the Rosary is not a glorious sacrament but a humble devotion. The Rosary can be prayed communally but it can never really be prayed ostentatiously. The meditation of the Rosary is not on one's self, it is on God. The Rosary teaches the most important lessons of faith with simple images, not esoteric learning. It also teaches the fundamental Christian virtues which St. John Vianney says are bound together by humility like the chain of a Rosary binds together all the beads! There is nothing about the Rosary which inspires arrogance, and that is why the devil hates it with a passion. He just can't break its humility.

Finally, its repetitive intercession gives the Rosary a transformative strength that can only be likened to the slow force of the ancient streams that cut the Grand Canyon out of solid rock over thousands of years. It is an unstoppable force of good if only the people who pray it will not cease to pray for their intentions! This prayer is meaningful, meditative and pregnant with Our Lady's presence which is always the most sure way to send any prayer to heaven. After all, She is the one who, we are told, will crush the head of the serpent; She reverses the ancient curse of Eve; She batters the gates of hell with a weapon in the form of a chain.

To this I would add the power of the Chaplet. By imploring mercy for the women who choose abortion, we follow the lead of those persons described in the Gospel who continued through the night bringing victims to Christ to ask for his healing. By imploring mercy for the staff who work at the abortuary, we show our regard for their human dignity. By imploring mercy for ourselves, we make certain that we have not overlooked any splinters in our own eyes.

My local coordinator of 40 Days said it best, "We are here to humble ourselves in prayer, to cleanse our hearts of stone! We pray not only for an end to Abortion but for a turning towards the one who loves us beyond description!"

May this prayer ring true throughout this nation~

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