Exorcisms tend to be that hush idea that no one talks about, sort of like that uncle that ran moonshine during prohibition. The fact is, every diocese has an exorcist, there is a school of exorcism in the Vatican, and spiritual warfare is on the rise by both the faithful laity and exorcists.
Here are some bits of information that may help you understand this ancient rite of our Church.
True: There are two different forms of exorcism, major and minor.
Major exorcisms are performed on those who are determined, by thorough investigation, to be demonically possessed. They performed by a bishop or by a priest who has been given permission by the bishop.
According to the USCCB, minor exorcisms are prayers used to break the influence of evil and sin in a person's life, whether as a catechumen preparing for Baptism or as one of the Baptized faithful striving to overcome the influence of evil and sin in his or her life.1
False: If you receive an exorcism, your head will spin 360 degrees.
No, no it will not. That is a Hollywood invention! There are times, however, that the devil is given permission by God to bend the rules of nature but never to break them.
True: You can’t be possessed against your will.
Nobody wakes up one morning and says “I think today’s the day I will be possessed”. However, by involvement in particular sins like pornography, drugs, occult, witchcraft, Ouija boards we open avenues that allow the devil to enter us and do great harm. This is why it is important to avoid such things and keep close to the sacraments, particularly Eucharist and confession.
False: The devil will stay away if I frequent the sacraments and pray.
The sacraments provide us with necessary grace to do the will of God. They are not demon repellant.
True: Holy people get pushed around by the devil.
This is a true statement, and includes YOU! The more you seek God’s Holy Will the harder the devil will work to derail you. In fact, there are many saints, Padre Pio for one, who battled demons on a regular basis.
False: Possession and temptation are the only ways Satan is able to afflict us.
Temptation is obvious, but the devil has other ways to drag us down. When we do not go to confession after we sin, the door opens for the devil to work on us. If this becomes serious, we could have spiritual oppression or demonic infestation. Neither is the way, the truth, or the life.
True: Mary crushes the head of the serpent.
The Most Holy Rosary is the strongest weapon we have against the temptations and ills of the devil. Satan HATES to hear the rosary recited! Mother Mary is a fierce ally against demons.
DO NOT BE AFRAID! The power of Christ is strong. Staying close to Jesus and the sacraments will give you the necessary strengths to fight those annoying attacks of the devil. Remember, the devil’s job is to throw you off course but with the example of the saints, the prayers of the Blessed Mother, and the battle ready St. Michael you will have a greater punch against your opponent than Rocky Marciano in the ring!