Friday, April 3, 2020

Lessons From Fr. Gabriele Amorth’s First Exorcism

This article is adapted from Fr. Stanzione’s introduction to a chapter in The Devil is Afraid of Me: The Life and Work of the World’s Most Popular Exorcist. It is available as an ebook or paperback from Sophia Institute Press.

Father Gabriele Amorth’s very first exorcism remained especially impressed in his mind. He spoke of it in various interviews and in his book The Last Exorcist: My Battle against Satan, in which he narrates in depth what happened with so many other important exorcisms.
His first solo exorcism was very particular, because he immediately clashed with Satan himself. After having as­sisted Father Candido Amantini for many years, he exorcised a simple man. The man was very young and slim and came accompanied by a priest and a third person, a translator.
Initially, Father Amorth did not understand the reason for the translator, so the priest explained to him that when the demoniac was under possession, he spoke in English, and therefore it would be useful to have the translator present in order to understand what he was saying.
Once the exorcism began, the young peasant did not com­municate with words or gestures; it was as if nothing affected him, not even when Father Amorth invoked the help of the Lord. But after the invocation, when the exorcist priest asked specifically for the help of Jesus, the young man fixed his gaze on him and began to yell in English.
His curses and threats were aimed solely at the exorcist; then he began spitting at him and preparing to attack him physically; only when Father Amorth arrived at the prayer Praecipio tibi (I command you), did the demon seem to placate himself a bit. But then, screaming and howling, the de­mon burst forth and looked straight at him, drooling saliva from the young man’s mouth. The exorcist, at that point, continued with the rite of liberation, asking and ordering the demon to tell him his name and reveal who he was. Because this was his first exorcism,
Father Amorth did not expect to receive such a ter­rifying response: “I am Lucifer.”
Thus, with great stupor, Father Amorth discovered that who he had in front of him in those moments was Lucifer in person, but at that point, he certainly could not give up or end the exorcism, so he engaged himself even more. He was convinced that he had to keep going as long as he had the strength.
So, while he continued with the prayers of liberation, the demon resumed his shrieks, making the possessed turn his head back and his eyes roll; and he remained like this with his back arched for a quarter of an hour. Who could imagine what Father Amorth felt in those moments? Changes also occurred in the environment. All of a sudden, the room became extremely cold and ice crystals formed on the windows and the walls. The exor­cist, refusing to give up, ordered Lucifer to abandon the peasant. But almost in response, the young man’s body stiffened so much that he became hard and at a certain point began to levitate; and for several minutes, he remained hovering three feet in the air. Meanwhile, the exorcist continued with the prayers of liberation. Then, at a certain point, the possessed fell down onto a chair, and a little before disappearing, Lucifer announced the day and the exact hour that he would leave the body of the peasant.
Father Amorth continued to exorcise the young man each week until the fatal day arrived. Then he let another week pass, and he rescheduled him. Upon his arrival, the young man seemed very tranquil, and in the course of the exorcism, he did not make any objections to the liberations, and indeed, he prayed tranquilly. Father Amorth asked him to explain how Lucifer left him, and he replied that on the day and at the hour that the devil had indicated he would leave, he began to howl like never before. Then, at the end of this, he felt new and light.

Father Amorth Speaks of the Good Angels

Since exorcism must also be understood in the context of the good angels, Father Amorth wrote one of his columns in the weekly Credo on the good angels:
The angelic creatures who chose to remain faithful to their nature and to the goal for which they were cre­ated — that is, to praise God eternally — did a very simple thing: they remained obedient. They accepted being submissive to God the Creator, and they made their choice in the just view, not the diabolical view of feeling humiliated by this act of submission. To the contrary, in choosing to remain faithful to God, the angels were true to their nature and their end. It was an act of fidelity to the truth for which they were created by God, which is to love Him. This attitude does not humiliate them, because it does not infer a lack of something; rather, it reflects a fullness. The angels have continued to be faithful to their nature, which refers them directly to God the Creator, the one who has inscribed in creation the laws that He considers best for the good of the creature. Thus, the way we read it in the book of Revelation (12:7 and further on) is the way it occurred. There was a giant war between the angels who remained faithful to God and those who rebelled against Him; in other words, the [good] angels against the demons. In those passages, the Bible tells us that the Archangel Michael led the angels into battle, and the rebel angels were guided by the dragon (the devil) and at the end were defeated. As a result, and I cite from memory, “for them there was no longer a place in heaven.”
Something happened here that the Bible does not declare, but that I have no reason to doubt: the demons created hell — that is, they put themselves in a situation, in a state, that placed them in opposition to God, and in doing so, harmed themselves. Their new condition, known in the Bible as “hell,” means that the dev­ils are forever excluded from paradise — that is, the vision of God, and the goals of enjoyment and eternal happiness for which they were created.
Therefore, the demons are definitively condemned; for them, there is no longer any possibility of salvation. Why? Because their intelligence, which is much superior to ours, since they are pure spirits, makes their choice definitive, because it was done with full awareness and is therefore not retractable. But the demons do not wish to take back such a choice.
The same is true, but to the contrary, for the angels who have chosen God and enjoy Him in eternity; and it is also true for the saints, those who are already admitted to the eternal vision of God. And this is true also for us, who are called to sanctity here on earth and, if necessary, in purgatory.

How the Demon Enters Souls

The journalist Marco Tosatti asked Father Amorth which are the paths preferred by the devil when entering the soul of men. Amorth responded:
There are four methods the demon utilizes to enter souls; one regards saints, and two are extremely rare. When the demon tempts a person who seems holy, he attempts to make him renounce his godly ways. This case is extremely rare. The other extremely rare case is that of leading a person into a complex of extremely serious sins in a way that is nearly irreversible. In my view, this was the method [that Satan used] with Judas Iscariot. . . . The most frequent case — and I put it at 90 percent — is that of the evil spell. It happens when someone sustains an evil caused by the demon that has been provoked by some person who has turned to Satan or someone who has acted with satanic perfidy. The remaining, 10 to 15 percent — I do not have an exact number — regard persons who have participated in occult practices, such as séances or satanic sects, or have contacted wizards and fortune-tellers. These forms of Satanism are widely diffused, and I think that today they are spread by stars and celebrities who have a huge following… I have nothing against rock music; it is very respectable music; I am against satanic rock.

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