Tormenting demon, come out!
Spiritual Exercise 36
Immediately on waking, I rouse myself to hope by imagining I am possessed and tormented, yet realize that Jesus desires to free me today. I will get dressed with thoughts like these.
At my prayer place, my mind raised up, I consider how Jesus is looking at me with gentle compassion. I make a gesture of reverence and humility.
I ask for the grace to direct my whole self to the service of Jesus the healer.
I desire to be free of tormenting demons.
I read each of the prayer texts to know how Jesus healed the possessed.
Then I choose one of the three healing stories for my prayer. I enter the scene, imagining in some detail the place, weather, people, conversations, and sounds. I experience the actions and feelings as they unfold.
1. If I am desperate, tormented, and unrestrained, always hurting myself or living among the tombs of dead dreams, I take the place of the demoniac. I enter the gospel scene. I hear Jesus say, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” I allow the story to unfold. I am set free.
2. If I am distressed and the child in me is tormented by the past, I take the place of the woman who insisted Jesus heal her daughter. I enter the gospel scene, crying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” I allow the story to unfold. My child is set free.
3. If I am at wits end, tried everything, and the child in me is seized with hurt, I take the place of the father who brings his boy to Jesus. I enter the gospel scene. I cry, “Teacher, I brought you my son. If you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus answers, “All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately I cry out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” I allow the story to unfold. My child is released.
Then, I surrender my vulnerabilities and healing to the Lord, so that he may better work through me. I offer, if he wills, to help heal and encourage others.
I give thanks to God for my faith, the gift that Jesus declares “makes me well.”
We share our feelings and thoughts.
A man with an unclean spirit lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; and he shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; and the unclean spirits begged him, “Send us into the swine; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission.. and the herd, about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea.
Then people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. The man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.” (Mk 5:3–9, 11–15, 18–19)
A Canaanite woman started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not answer her at all. and his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Mt 15:22–28)
“Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” Jesus answered . . . “Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him.
When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”.
Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand.… His disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.” (Mk 9:17–29)
Time: 35 Minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes. Opening Prayer: 1 minute. Desire: 1 minute. Prayer: 20 minutes. Conversation: 3 minutes. Listening Book: 10 minutes.
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This excerpt from The First Spiritual Exercises: Four Guided Retreats ©2013 by Michael Hansen is used by permission of Ave Maria Press. All rights reserved.