Expert Answer Forum
I think I need spiritual help QUESTION from Neville Harris October 30, 2000 Dear sir, I'd be grateful if you could give me some advice on the following matters:
Firstly, I'd like to give you a little background. I was Christened in the Church of England. Although I was, generally speaking, a believer, throughout my childhood - I strayed from the path during adolescence (I am now in my thirties). There were various reasons for why this happened, which I won't go into here - but would be happy to, if you required more info.
Anyway, I am now married and my Wife is a [lapsed] Catholic and we have had our two wonderful young daughters baptised into the Catholic Church. I have been considering becoming a Catholic for the past couple of years but still have a few faith-related questions to resolve, which I will post to one of your other forums.
My issue here is something, that has been gnawing at me for quite some time, relating to the possibility that I might have a problem with demon oppression or some such thing.
In my late teens (a couple of years after I had decided that I no longer believed in God), myself, and a small group of friends drifted into what we now refer to as our 'dark ages'. Whenever we were out drinking in pubs, and such like, we began to enjoy shocking people with our behaviour and language. In the end, our 'shocking' language became centred around blasphemy and references to satan etc. In our 'sober' moments, we used to go out exploring local 'haunted' houses and graveyards etc., seeking the 'thrill' of fear. We also participated in ouija boards and started becoming generally interested in the occult. On one occasion, I pulled the glass away from the board, during a ouija session, and there was a tangible 'presence' in the room, for a couple of months afterward, that was decidedly unwholesome. My favourite music, at that time, was led zeppelin, and that was primarily because I detected some 'eerie' or 'evil' quality to it which I couldn't put my finger on (although I never liked 'blatant' black heavy metal). By the time I was 20, I realised what was happening and resolved to stop what we were doing immediately. Unfortunately, although I did pull out of that 'lifestyle' (as did my friends), my lack of any real faith in God, at the time, prevented me from seeking any genuine spiritual solution. I began the process of resuming my 'normal' life by trying to find a decent career and pursuing sports and normal relationships. However, after that, I was never really able to shake off a feeling of gloom, depression and despondency which has seemed to hang over me ever since. Also, I have had various experiences, in the years since, which, taken individually may not be anything extraordinary but, in the general context of my life, have been worrying me for some time.
For example, strange dreams. In one of your other responses you mentioned that 'prophetic' dreams can be coincidences but I'd be very surprised if mine were. I have had at least 7 occasions where I KNEW from a dream that a specific person had died. On each occasion, the people concerned actually died on the night of the dream. Usually, I never mentioned this to anyone but on one occasion, on awakening from one of 'these' dreams, I told my wife that the person in question might well have died. We subsequently found out that they had (I was not even in the same country as that person when the dream occurred). On one occasion, a being, resembling one of these people, actually began attacking me during the dream - and continued to attack me AFTER I had woken up and got out of bed (a terrifying experience that I can never forget).
Another example is experiences of 'ghosts' (for want of a better word). A couple of years ago I moved into a house which was about 400 years old and which one of my friends, from the 'dark ages', had previously lived in. He told me he had thought he'd seen a ghost in there one night. Whilst living there I had several unpleasant experiences, such as loud, angry hammerings on the front door, in the middle of the night, only to find there was no-one there; Lights being switched on and off in the bedroom; the sound of feet stomping around in the living room while I was laying in bed in the early hours. My wife also experienced these phenomena - it was not my imagination.
Also, sometimes in conversation with people I have been aware that I am saying things which might cause unease or be upsetting to people. In these situations, I remember feeling conscious that I wouldn't normally talk in such a way - but am seemingly unable to prevent myself from doing so.
When I was 30 I began a process of trying to find God and discover whether there was any real truth in Christianity. After a sometimes painful process lasting a couple of years, I came around to the view that there definitely is. I then became 'confirmed' as a Christian in the Anglican church. In the moments leading up to the confirmation I had a tangible feeling of someone or something pulling me back as though they felt they had some sort of claim on me. However, I managed to go through with it and, for about a year, enjoyed a quality of life, and an awareness of God that I'd never had before. Unfortunately, after this period I felt my commitment beginning to decline and drifted into a period of drinking and drug taking. I'm ashamed to say it also led to a couple of incidents of sexual immorality, during drugs/drink parties, in which I persuaded my wife into the fray. Since then I've had a dream(s) (of the type I recognise as being 'different') in which, rather than predictions of other people's misfortune, I am being pursued by a personality that I cannot see, but is definitely tangible, and which seems to know me and to have some claim over me. In the dream I also saw what I presumed to be an angel, whom I asked where Jesus was, in order to protect me from the 'person' that was coming for me. The 'angel' replied that I am not able to go there at the moment. As I turned to walk away, a pair of strong hands pushed me away from that place, before the other 'person' could get to me - and then I woke up with a huge gasp. I had actually stopped breating in my sleep.
Now, my daughter has become scared to sleep in her own room as she keeps dreaming of seeing some kind of 'evil monkey' looking through the bedroom window. Is my family now also in spiritual danger because of my past sins, even though they are innocent and baptised into the true faith?
It seems that even confirmation was not enough to give me the strength to continue on the Christian path.
As I stated earlier, I have developed a very strong feeling that I should become a Catholic if I am to make a sincere attempt to follow Christ. There are many reasons for this feeling but, briefly, I have found that I have experienced a strong sense of 'authenticity' when accompanying my wife to a Catholic church - unlike anything I've experienced in a protestant church. Also, I'd like to put all this bad stuff behind me, once and for all and follow Jesus. Finally, I'd like to unify my family as a Catholic family - rather than have me as the only non-catholic. Obviously, before I can even think of making such a change, I have to resolve this issue that is hanging over me.
What I'd like to ask you is this: In your experience, do you think that there is any possibility that I might be suffering from some form of demon oppression / possession? and, if so, what should I do? Should I seek the services of a Catholic priest for 'deliverance ministry' or even exorcism?
Please advise me on the best course of action for my predicament.
P.S. I have considered the possibility of clinical depression and / or mental health problems but, after exhaustive consultation with a mental health professional, was advised that they could find nothing wrong with me.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on December 17, 2000 Dear Mr. Harris:
We will be in prayer for you and your family.
Yes, it appears that there is some sort of demonic influences or bondage going on from what you describe. But I am concerned about one comment you made. You said that you must resolve this problem BEFORE making the change to the Catholic Church.
Sir, this thought not coming from God. It is coming from a spirit not of God.
Converting to the Catholic Church can do MUCH to help you resolve this problem. Once a confirmed Catholic you have the full resources of the grace given to the Catholic Church to use to fight this problem. You will have the Eucharist.
You need to convert now.
Then you need to stay close and loyal to the Church. Attend Mass frequently, go to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, take confession regularly like once per month, and involve yourself in whatever devotions that suit you such as the Rosary, or to some saint, etc. Live the Christ-Life and the full sacramental life of a Catholic.
Also take a look at our SW Prayer Catalog that is linked on the index page of this forum. Pray the Renunciation for Ancestral Sins prayer, pray the Renunciation of Occult activities prayer, and the Taking Back Ground from Satan Prayer, and any other prayer that seems to fit.
Have your house and property blessed by a priest and use Holy Water in your home. Say the bedtime prayer of protection that is in the Catalog.
Do all these things and maybe the problem will be resolved. If not, you may need outside help. Let me know.
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