We are celebrating once again the Feast of All Saints and All Souls in our liturgical calendar - members of the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering, who along with all the faithful on earth (the Church Militant), comprise the Mystical Body of Christ. It's also that time of the year when we troop to the cemeteries to pray (hopefully) for our dearly departed loved ones. Unfortunately, this is also an occasion for many of us to attend Halloween parties, go trick or treating, ghost haunting, dressing up as ghouls and goblins to scare other people and all sorts of foolish activities that betray the true meaning of this solemn occasion. Maybe it's about time to grow up and let go of all these pagan practices and beliefs, shall we?
About a month ago, we were fortunate to have Fr. Jeffrey Quintela, exorcist priest of the Diocese of Antipolo, deliver a talk on spiritual warfare. In that talk, he shared the 5 R's of Spiritual Healing & Liberation and I want to share with you those insights that will help us to become better equipped in fighting the good fight and growing our faith as true Catholic Christians.
Nowadays, numerous occult and new age practices have become 'mainstream' practice and are unknowingly accepted and practiced by many of us - horoscopes, astrology, feng shui, consulting fortune tellers and tarot card readers, superstitious beliefs - and we think they are okay. We must remind ourselves that these practices directly violate the First Commandment, which states that we should have no other god besides the One True God. To adore the Lord your God and worship Him alone, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, means "to adore God as the Lord of everything that exists; to render to Him the individual and community worship which is His due; to pray to him with sentiments of praise, of thanks and of supplication; to offer Him sacrifices, above all the spiritual sacrifice of one's own life, united with the perfect sacrifice of Christ; and to keep the promises and vows made to him."
Having said that, it is now clear why resorting to occult and new age practices takes away from God the honor and homage that is due Him by us seeking a different path and attempting to manipulate the unknown (i.e., occult) in order to gain some benefit from it. On a personal level, I was drawn to these practices when I was younger. I was particularly fond of feng shui and bought books on mind control. I thought then than if I could harness the 'yin' and 'yang' forces and master the principles of feng shui, then I would attract wealth and prosperity. Same principle goes with mind control. By altering and enhancing my psychic and mental powers, I can attract good fortune and everything that my heart desires. I also got drawn in reading vampire novels and Harry Potter books not knowing that these things take me farther and farther away from the practice of my Catholic faith. Right now, I'm still in the process of disposing these new age books by burning them. I cannot just throw them away or donate them somewhere because others might pick them. This is my personal way of renouncing these practices and I also invite you to examine in what way you have let yourself be involved in occult and new age practices, knowingly or unknowingly, and start renouncing them.
To give you a guide on how to go about this, I am posting here a simple step by step process on how you can begin this process of renunciation. I have personally obtained this straight from the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism. Here are the steps:
Steps in Renunciation
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any occult contacts. Take note of any activity that you have practiced. Write down ALL the activities listed below that you have deliberately or innocently, seriously or playfully believed in/participated in/been involved in/consulted or been a part of in any way.
2. In front of the Blessed Sacrament, repent for all your occult involvement and do Steps 3 to 5 below.
3. Prayerfully say, “In Jesus’ name, I renounce practicing/believing in/participating in/involvement in [name the occult sin you committed (see list below)”. Do this 3x for each occult contact, that is, each item you listed below. This must be done three times for each sin, which represents a three-fold act of reparation for the offense committed against the Most Blessed Trinity.
4. Repent fully and ask for forgiveness by praying “I repent and ask to be forgiven.”
5. Re-commit and proclaim Jesus as your only Savior and Lord praying “and, I ask You, Jesus Christ to be my only Lord and Savior.”
Comprehensive List of New Age and Occult Practices
1. Witchcraft, Sorcery, Wicca, casting spells/curses like evil eye, gayuma, barang, kulam, love potions & spells.
2. Voodoo, Santeria, Macumba (black witchcraft), Sufism and other forms of local witchcraft.
3. Consulting “albularyo”, “mangkukulam”, “mangbabarang”, “mangtatawas”, “Curaderos”, “manghihilot”, cult herbalist, cult groups.
5. Developing psychic powers, opening third eye.
6. Power of the mind, science of the mind, Mind Control Programs – Silva Mind Control Program, mood-altering programs, ESP, cognition.
7. Psychic and aura readings.
8. Reading new age books such as Gnostic gospels, Bible codes, Celestine prophecy, and alternative religions.
9. Reincarnation and past life readings.
10. Superstitious beliefs and rituals.
11. Satanism, Satanic rituals, Luciferianism, Diabolism.
12. Satanic Bible or material.
13. Foretelling, fortune telling.
14. Card reading, Tarot card reading.
15. Crystal ball or crystal gazing, scrying.
16. Palm reading, palmistry, Kudlit.
18. Casting or reading of omens and/or lots, tea leaf reading, reading of animal body parts.
19. Horoscopes and astrology.
20. Feng shui, Geomancy, Cleromancy, Pyromancy, Hydromancy, Lithomancy, Ceromancy, Aeromancy, and similar rituals.
23. Divination using rod and pendulum, water divining – for finding water, treasure, etc.
24. Automatic hand writing or spirit writing.
25. Astral travel/projection, remote viewing.
26. Trance channeling, mediumship.
27. Consulting spirit guides, familiar spirits, guardian spirits, ancestral spirits, nature spirits (like fairies, dwarves, other elementals).
28. Shamanism, espiritista.
29. Soul attachments – Ascendant Masters.
30. Seances, spiritism, necromancy (communicating or calling spirits of the dead), spirit questing, ghost hunting, spirit photography, ancestral worship.
31. Ouija Board, Spirit of the Glass/coin/paper, pendulums.
32. Oracion – magical incantations.
33. Banishing/cleansing of spirits using non-Catholic rituals and practices.
34. Animism and paganism – worship of nature.
35. Offering to Idols and other similar rituals – food offering, animal sacrifice, bloodletting, blood offering.
36. Psychic Healing, Reiki, Crystal Healing, Faith Healing, Pranic Healing, Trance Healing, Animal Magnetism or Mesmerism, Energy Healing, Traditional Healing Practices, Asian/Eastern Healing techniques and practices, Non-Scientific Healing, Alternative Medicine Practices and Techniques (not science based).
37. Pyramid power and similar types of practices.
38. Amulets & talismans – anting-anting, lucky charms.
39. Heavy metal music, death metal music, obscene, sexually explicit, violent or disturbing music.
40. Satanic PC games, demonic role playing games, games involving elementals and demons such as Dungeons and Dragons, spell craft, etc.; extremely violent or depicts sexual themes not in accord with Church teachings.
41. Secret oaths to pagan gods as part of initiation ceremony into organization, fraternities, sororities, and other organization which practice these ceremonies.
42. Pacts with Satan, ghosts, elementals, nature spirits, other deities, and pagan gods.
43. Transcendental Meditation or other Eastern Meditation techniques.
45. Freemasonry and other secret societies and their organizations – sororities, fraternities.
46. Involvement in cults, group sex/orgies.
47. Rosicrucian, Scientology, Theosophy, Kaballah.
48. Edgar Cayce’s teachings and readings.
49. False mysticism, consulting angels, angel hosting.
50. Core energy or manipulation of energies.
51. False apparitions.
52. Syncretism – mixing beliefs of other religions.
53. Non-catholic worship, worship at pagan shrines.
54. Engaging in martial arts philosophies and teachings.
After having renounced the abovementioned practices, we need to renew our commitment to the Lord and strive to live a life of grace. Depending on how deep is your involvement in these occult practices, some people might face struggles and challenges along the way, but it is important to always remember that everything starts with your personal decision to turn away from evil and return to God. Like the prodigal son in the Gospel, our motives for returning back to God may not be that perfect but nevertheless God will still accept us and restore us back to our dignity as his beloved sons and daughters.
Renewal of one's faith means renewing one's baptismal promises, embracing our Catholic faith, beliefs, and practices like visiting the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary and novenas, reading the Scripture and the lives of saints, performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, mortifications, fasting and abstinence especially during Lent, growing in virtues, doing acts of piety, etc.
Reception pertains to receiving the sacraments worthily, particularly the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession and the Holy Eucharist. I cannot emphasize enough how important the Sacraments are in helping us live a life of grace. The Sacraments strengthen us spiritually, giving us the means to grow in holiness and virtue. There are great guides on how to make a good confession online. Make it a point to confess at least once a month and make it always a good one. The important thing to note here is that you must not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist if you are conscious of unconfessed grave sins. You must have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance FIRST before receiving Holy Communion. This does not mean though that since you are guilty of some particular grave sin and have no immediate access to the sacrament of Confession that you will omit going to Mass altogether. No! Not attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation without sufficient excuse is itself a mortal sin. If you have committed a mortal sin and have no means to confess it at the moment, you must still attend the Holy Mass; just do not receive Holy Communion. In its place, spiritually unite yourself to our Lord and ask for the grace to overcome your weaknesses. It is lamentable nowadays to see people approach Holy Communion without sufficiently examining themselves if they are worthy to receive Him, i.e., in a state of grace. Only those who are in the state of grace CAN receive Holy Communion and please do not receive communion in the hand. Show Jesus the utmost respect and reverence He rightfully deserves. Always receive Him on the tongue and with the proper interior disposition. Realize Who it is you are receiving - the King of Heaven, the Son of God, Redeemer of the world, the Holy of Holies.
Recitation means the set of prayers that one should recite every single day. From this point onward, prayer must become an important activity in your day-to-day life. These prayers may include prayers to the Blessed Trinity, Protection/Cleansing prayer, Marian prayers (rosary, etc.), Prayers to the Saints, and Angelic Prayers like the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer. I want to share some of these prayers that were recommended to me to pray every single day.
Prayer for Protection
Lord Jesus, I ask You to protect my family (mention by name) from sickness, from all harm and from accidents. If any of us has been subjected to any curses, hexes or spells, I declare these curses, hexes or spells null and void in the Name of Jesus Christ. If any evil spirits have been sent against us, I decommission you in the Name of Jesus Christ and I send you to Jesus to deal with as He will. Then, Lord, I ask You to send Your holy angels to guard and protect all of us. Amen.
August Queen of Angels
On the 13th of January 1863, a soul accustomed to receiving favors from the Virgin Mary was suddenly struck by a ray of divine light. She believed that she saw demons, throwing themselves upon the earth, causing ruins and incredible massacres. At the same time the Holy Virgin appeared, saying that demons had indeed broken loose in the world and the time had come to invoke her as Queen of Angels and to ask her to send legions of angels to combat and annihilate the powers of hell. The soul addressed the Virgin with the following words: "O my Mother, you who are so good, could you not send your angels without us having to ask you?" "No," the Virgin replied, "prayer is a condition established by God Himself to obtain graces." "Then, Mother," said the soul, "would you like to teach us how we should pray to you?" And the Most Holy Virgin dictated this prayer to her: "O august Queen..."
O august Queen and Our Lady of Angels,
who received from God the power and mission
of crushing the head of Satan,
we humbly beg you to send us heavenly legions,
with St. Michael the Archangel as head
so that under your orders
they may chase the demons,
combat them everywhere,
repress their boldness,
and drive them back into the abyss.
"Who is like God?"
O good and tender Mother,
you shall always be our love and our hope.
O Divine Mother,
send your Holy Angels to defend us,
and to drive away from us the cruel enemy.
Holy Angels and Archangels,
defend us and guard us.
Prayer to St. Michael
(This powerful prayer should be prayed frequently and from the heart. St. Michael the Archangel has great power against the fallen angels for He defended the honor of God and defeated Lucifer when he revolted against the Most High.)
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protector against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Last but not the least is reconciliation or forgiveness - towards our brethren and with oneself. Fr. Quintela during the talk succinctly reminded us that forgiveness is a "Gospel mandate", that to forgive seventy times seven is a direct command from Christ Himself and not merely a suggestion. As difficult as it may seem it makes perfect sense. We sinners offend God on a daily basis but God in His great mercy almost always forgives us, and so we ought to extend the same thing to others. It's interesting to note that forgiving is one of the spiritual acts of mercy. When we forgive, we perform an act of mercy towards others that in turn benefit us spiritually in that forgiveness liberates us from hatred, bitterness, and all the negative emotions associated with holding grudges against others.
Lastly, I highly encourage everyone to grab a copy of the books of Fr. Jocis Syquia, director of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, whose photo appears above. The books are entitled Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult Second Edition and Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines Volume Two. These books are a treasure when it comes to this topic and who else is more qualified to write on these matters than the chief exorcist of Manila himself. You can buy these books in all St. Paul's Bookstores in major shopping malls nationwide. To give you a sneak peek on what is inside each book, here are the table of contents:
Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult
1. The Church and the Devil
2. The Parapsychological Dimension
3. Catholicism and Philippine Folk Religiosity
4. The Secrets of the New Age Movement: Notebook 1
5. The Secrets of the New Age Movement Notebook 2
7. Ministering to Those under Extraordinary Demonic Assault
8. Confrontation between God and the Devil
9. The Catholic in the Midst of Love and War
10. The Scars of Battle
11. The Defensive Armor and Offensive Weapons
12. The Exorcist
13. Haunted Houses: Notebook 1
14. Haunted Houses: Notebook 2
Conclusion: Only Jesus and Always Jesus
Appendix A: More on Philippine Folk Religiosity
Appendix B: Personal Spiritual Warfare
Appendix C: A Concise Handbook on Exorcism and Deliverance
Appendix D: A Pastoral Approach to Infested Homes
Appendix E: How to Handle an Emergency Case of Grave Oppression and Possession
Appendix F: Rules from the Roman Ritual of Exorcism
Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines Volume Two
Part I: Mama Mary
Chapter I: Our Mother
Chapter II: Mama Mary and the War for Souls
Chapter III: Stories of Mama Mary
Chapter IV: Stories of the Rosary
Part II: The Saints
Chapter V: The Great Battle of the Church Begins
Chapter VI: The Saints of the Early Church and the Devil - Paganism/Animism
Chapter VII: The Saints of the Early Church and the Devil - Extraordinary Attack
Chapter VIII: More Stories from the Lives of the Saints
Chapter IX: Spiritual Warfare Notebook 1 - Spiritual Combat
Chapter X: Spiritual Warfare Notebook 2 - The Spiritual Knight
Part III: Angels and Demons
Chapter XI: A Short Treatise on the Angels
Chapter XII: Demonology 1
Chapter XIII: Demonology 2
Chapter XIV: True Stories from the Vatican and Italian Exorcists
Chapter XV: From the Mouths of Demons
Appendix A: Is There Such a Thing as "Wandering Souls"?
Appendix B: St. Thomas Aquinas on the Occult
Appendix C: An Exorcist Speaks about the Final Battle and Its Aftermath
Appendix D: Interview with Fr. Gabriele Amorth
Appendix E: Manual of Prayers
I. Marian Prayers
II. Angel Prayers
III. Prayer to the Saints
Recommended Reading and Resources
About Fr. Jocis Syquia
FR. JOSE FRANCISCO 'JOCIS' SYQUIA hails from a wealthy family. The second to the eldest son of the late ambassador Enrique Syquia and his wife, Leticia, he and his four brothers grew up in North Forbes Park, Makati City.
After graduating from college in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Fr. Jocis entered the seminary in 1989 and completed his training from both San Carlos Major Seminary in Makati City and the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sacred Theology from the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties and a Licentiate in Spiritual Theology from the Angelicum in Rome. He finished both courses with magna cum laude honors. He also has a Master's degree in Psychology from the UST Graduate School.
Fr. Jocis is the Head of the Commission on Extraordinary Phenomena for the Archdiocese of Manila. He is the Director of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, an exorcist of Manila for ten years now, and a member of the International Association of Exorcists based in Rome. He completed the Vatican Course on Exorcism and Deliverance at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University. He is the author of the bestselling book Exorcism - Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult (Shepherd's Voice Publications) and Exorcist - A Spiritual Journey, the first of the three volumes published by ST PAULS. He is also a full-time formator, spiritual director, and professor of spirituality and psychology at the San Carlos Major Seminary.
There is a spiritual warfare going on around us - good versus evil - and we are caught up in this battle whether we are aware of it or not. There is a battle raging on for souls. On one hand God with all the angels and saints cheer us and encourage us to fight the good fight, to do good and be faithful to the commandments and the Gospel and on the other side is Satan with all his fallen angels trying their best to tempt and seduce us to disobey God and commit sins. In the middle of this tug of war is us. We are the booty. In the end, we are all going to end up in either heaven or hell and our final lot in eternity will be determined by our own free choice. I do hope and pray that we will pick the right choice no matter how difficult it may seem and that choice is to obey and love God.
I hope you find this blog post helpful. Do you have personal issues you want to consult regarding demonic possessions and paranormal activities? You can send an e-mail to the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just state your case in your e-mail and wait for their reply. Once they have reviewed your case, the exorcism team will reply to you to schedule you for a personal interview.
Credits: Protection Prayer and Prayer to St. Michael taken from the book Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult; August Queen of Angels taken from Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines Volume Two