I am returning after four months of what turned out to be spiritual warfare to continue my monthly column for Catholic Stand. I am very excited to be able to contribute again, in some small way, to the Catholic Church’s New Evangelization through Catholic Stand!
Reason for My Leave from Catholic Stand
I initially took this time off so that I could care for my wife. I did not know that I was engaged in a spiritual battle for my soul.
Karol had disk compression surgery in July to address her difficulty in walking. The surgery was not as successful as we hoped. Her surgeon is now recommending another surgery from a different entry-point to decompress a disk that could not be reached during the previous surgery.
Karol wants to get better, so she is leaning towards having this additional surgery. She is also receiving physical therapy. She is determined to walk again without assistance, and is especially determined to swim in the ocean. After all, that is one of the reasons we moved to Hawaii eight years ago, to care for our six grandchildren and take them to the beach year-round.
I also needed some time to discern why my spiritual life was so dry.
I initially wondered if my depression was worsening. Over the past two years, several psychiatrists had adjusted my anti-depressant medications in response to my inner desolation.
I had no idea at the time, however, that I might need to address the possibility of demonic oppression. Again.
Prior Spiritual Warfare
I thought this spiritual warfare had been taken care of when I was part of a healing and deliverance team in 2013 in another diocese. This ministry had developed as a result of a forgiveness ministry after the loss of our son, Aaron, in November 2002, when he was 26.
Our team had been given permission by the bishop to do some preliminary prayers with an individual who appeared to be oppressed by demonic spirits, but who we later learned was possessed. (The bishop conducted an exorcism of this person shortly afterwards.)
I had become “contaminated” from this individual. A number of issues began to manifest in my life that surprised me by their vehemence.
I had two deliverances to help me find some healing immediately after my contamination. I was close to completing my diaconal formation and my spiritual director told me to discontinue deliverance and healing ministry for a period of time.
As described in my Catholic Stand posting on May 7, 2017 (Living in the Paschal Mystery), I was later given permission after my diaconal ordination to conduct a deliverance of my father. (That posting describes some important considerations for deliverance.)
Dad found some relief in this deliverance. Interestingly, I now realize that I had begun to be healed of some issues in myself and my family after Dad’s deliverance. I was being strengthened by the Holy Spirit to surrender my will slowly to God’s plan for my salvation.
My depression may have even been exacerbated after this deliverance from the spiritual warfare that I was experiencing. God led me to see that I needed to trust in Him and to grow in faith.
Continuing Along the Way with God
My healing was occurring, but not as I had expected. I wanted a sudden, emotional experience of God’s healing. Instead, God allowed me to find Him in my suffering and to accept in faith that I was being blessed and healed in a deep and mystical fashion, and not in a superficial way. God handled the spiritual warfare for which I am so grateful.
Perhaps the war will continue until I can die, prayerfully, in God’s providence. But God has given me faith and grace to withstand the vehemence and heat of the battle.
I trust in Him.