Blessed is he who is so firmly established here
that he does not spill out what God has poured into him.
Mechthild of Magdeburg
A couple of weeks ago I had the unexpected opportunity to watch a program featuring a reenactment of an exorcism. The young boy who was possessed by the demon spirit was about ten and the experience had unfolded when the family had just recently moved into a new home. The program detailed all the events leading up to the family finally approaching a local Catholic Church for guidance and through the actual exorcism that followed.
A critical turning point had been when the boy’s father had decided to challenge the demon and, as a result, had been immediately injured. It was interesting to me that the Church investigators said that this was the worst thing the father could have done. Shortly after, an initial rite of exorcism was scheduled.
This initial session continued on for several days. What was so striking to me was how the priests, particularly the one in the key role, were completely unemotional. As the spirit continued to rage through the boy, the priest just kept sprinkling the boy with holy water and affirming, calmly and persistently, the presence of “Our Lord Jesus Christ is here.” Over and over. No reaction. No resistance. Just affirming the Truth. And, finally, the spirit left.
To me this spoke of the importance of seeing the darkness that may show up around us as, for example, Mother Teresa saw the deep poverty and suffering, and Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. saw political and racial injustice. In each case, they responded with the same intention as the priests in the exorcism with unwavering action, not reaction, to restore harmony as only the strength, resolve and clarity of Love, or Truth, can. We immediately recognize this Love as it, in the language of the Bhagavad Gita, creates dharma, not karma, freedom not bondage. In the Bible, we hear it as the truth that sets us free. Emmet Fox in The Sermon on the Mount: The Keys to Success in Life reminds us that goodness, love and truth are eternal and, when offered, go on forever whereas the energies of darkness, error and fear need resolution to be returned to Love. Same principle.
While it is our duty, as well, to acknowledge and show up to any darkness that may appear on our doorstep, it is not advisable, as the father of the boy discovered, to challenge or resist as it is then we can often find ourselves in the playpen, so to speak, weakened and struggling against. But if we can hold the Truth, the Love in such a situation, we are better able to rise strong and untangled and become single-pointed lazars for good. Now, we are able to turn the other cheek, to demonstrate another way, the way of Love.
Let’s not spill out what God has poured into us.
Let’s fight for not against.
And set ourselves, and others, free.