Usually, after the showing of some box-office phenonomen dealing with demons and malevolent spirits, I am frequently asked about wheter I have ever seen a case of possession. Although I do not claim to be an expert in possessions and exorcisms, there are plenty of cases of possessions for which there is ample evidence: The presence of ignorance. It is interesting to recall that Ignatius of Loyola did not establish schools (or their required basketball programs) at the same time as the founding of the Society of Jesus. But it is worth noting that he choose education as one of the primary works of the order when he made a judgement about the best use of Jesuit manpower less than 10 years after the order was founded. We should recall too, that this decision came after every single major spiriutal insight was given to him which means that the choice of education came as the fruit of much prayer, and divine spritual gifts. This choice established a means to do battle against ignorance, primarly the ignorance of the relationship we have with God, as Ignatius states in the “First Principle and Foundation” found within his Spirutal Exercises. Jesuits have been sparring with this type of posssesion for centuries, wether it was Fr. John Corridan in the dramatic setting of fighting corruption on New York’s waterfront or Fr. Richard Forry teaching freshmen at Marquette High in Milwaukee to avoid the passive voice and perils of ending a sentence with a prepostion. Evil is evil, it is just a matter of degree. So we all do our part in casting out the demons of ignorance when we enlighten ourselves by doing a bit more reading and bit more investigation into the complex issues that populate our very troubled world.
Memorial of Bl. Francis Xavier Seelos
The seventy-two disciples that Jesus sent out to prepare his way represent the laymen and women in the Church today. He, more than anyone else, realized how difficult the task would be to preach his Gospel. Read his words of instruction. They are still pertinent today.
He stressed the enormity of the work to be done with the small number of workers to do it. Such a proportion must have engendered discouragement. But it was really an appeal to prayer. And prayer leads to self-knowledge.
The disciple then, and the disciple now knows his or her limitations, but prays that the Lord make him or her a co-worker, a collaborator in spreading the Gospel to others.
Women were chiefly responsible for the spread of the Church in the early ages. Women today in Catholic Latin America are chiefly responsible for the spread of Pentecostal churches.
Through the intercession of Mary, I will pray today for an increase of lay disciples, especially women, that they receive peace from prayer so as to say “Peace to this household” in spreading the Gospel message.