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HAUNTED? Recognized and Remove Evil From Your Life  
         Evil is for real. (Ephesians 6:12) The supernatural world is as real as the real world that surround us, and both interplay and intersect with each other's in various ways. We need to accept the possibility that some events in our lives can be caused by the work of the enemy.
In saying that, however, we warn people against going to the extreme of blaming all the bad things happening to their lives as coming from the devil. This is preposterous. We glorify the devil if we do this. He doesn't have that much power!
         Traditional Catholic teaching says that we have three enemies: The World, The Flesh, and the Devil. Evil can therefore be caused not only by spirits, but also by the sinful structures of society (the world) and by our own sinful human nature (the flesh).
          It is important that we recognize this. If we keep on blaming the devil for everything, we abdicate our personal responsibility. The truth is that many of the bad things happening to our lives are caused by our personal sin. Prayers for deliverance or "casting out evil spirits" is very good, but many times, what is most needed is repentance.
          This in fact is most important weapon of spiritual warfare-not exorcism or deliverance. Repentance and sanctity are out greatest spiritual weapons! When we think of evil, we automatically think of devils, demons, evil spirits, and whatever we watch in horror movies. But the deadlier evil is the ordinary sins we commit! With the demons, devils, and evil spirits, at least we're afraid to touch them. But we're not afraid to touch a Playboy magazine, a bribe of one hundred thousand pesos, or listen to juicy gossip against our neighbor. But those things are evil as well.
          KERYGMA wishes to help people who feel that their lives are haunted, oppressed, bothered, pestered by evil influences. Many times, the don't know why this is happening to them.
           If you feel that there is an evil influence that is haunting or oppressing your life, ask the following questions:
1. IS THERE A SIN IN MY LIFE?
            Sin opens up your life to evil more than anything else in the world. We reap what we sow in our lives (Matthew 7:17). Pride breeds conflicts and broken relationships. Lust, pre-marital sex, and adultery destroy our future, our marriages and families. Greed produces discontent and wars. After all, when God gave us the Ten Commandments, He didn't give them just because He was a big killjoy! God gave them to us out of His love, because He doesn't want us to suffer the terrible consequences of sin.
            We recommend that you go through an examination of conscience. Speak with a spiritual director-a saintly priest or nun-to assist you. Ask for the Holy Spirit to convict you of any sin that you are committing.
2. IS THERE HATRED AND RESENTMENT IN MY HEART
            Scripture is very clear: God will not forgive us if we don't know how to forgive others (Matthew 6:15). And if God cannot forgive us, how can His other blessing flow as well?
           When we hold on to our anger towards someone, we actually punish ourselves much more that the person we hate.
           If this is true in your case, we recommend that you go to prayer and seek for the grace of forgiveness. Ask others to pray for you, and release the resentment from your heart.
3. AM I INHERITING THE SINS OF MY FATHERS?
           If an obvious sin, such as adultery, has been present in our families, even spanning across many generations (Exodus 20:5), you may need to break the bondage through a prayer of deliverance. First of all, deepen your relationship with the Lord-and invite your family closer to Jesus. This is the most important step. Second, repent of the sin that is present in your family. Cast it out and break the bondage in the name of Jesus.
           Seek for priests or lay leaders who are familiar with the prayers of healing the family tree.
4. HAS A WITCH INFLICTED A CURSE ON ME?
           Don't laugh. This is no longer very common in urban areas like Manila, but we find it quite familiar in the provinces. Especially in far-flung barrios, we have experiences of people falling ill, only to discover that a mangkukulam inflicted a curse on them.
           The spiritual solution to this spiritual problem is simple: bring the person into a personal relationship with Jesus, covering him with the presence and blood of Christ. Go to the Sacraments and receive the grace that only Sacraments can give. And finally, with the help of the prayers of other people, cast out the evil spirit that is inflicting harm on the person. It works, every time. Because God is greater than the enemy.
5. DID I DABBLE WITH THE OCCULT AND OTHER UNORTHODOX PRACTICES?
           Occult practices abound today and we may have opened up our lives in any way to the devil. Check whether your parents or relatives dabbled in them as well. Satan worship, witchcraft, all sorts of anting-anting (amulets), mangkukulam. We do not believe either in feng shui, sastrology and horoscope, etc. because we trust God to care for us. We should be very careful with espiritistas (mediums) and faith healers. We strongly recommend that if you are to seek for healing from God, why not do it where Jesus is present in both Body and Spirit-in the Eucharist? Seek also healing in the Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings where prayers for healing are done-or through Marian devotions as approved by the Catholic Church.
          We also recommend that homes or places where occult activities were done in the past to be blessed and exorcism prayers be done. Have faith that God is greater than the enemy. History will attest that many ancient churches were built upon ancient pagan temples. God overcomes evil!
ON QUESTIONABLE PRACTICES
          In KERYGMA, we take the conservative side, the more orthodox position of the Church. As an example, we do not even recommend pranic healing or the enneagram, though we are aware that many priests and nuns teach these methods. We ask you to study carefully the pros and cons of the issue before you jump into them. Our position with these practices has always been simple: "If in doubt, don't." We'd rather stick to the more common path of healing and sanctity traditionally taught by the Catholic Church: the Holy Mass, Confession, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Communion of Saints, Exorcism prayers, Deliverance prayers, Spiritual Direction, spiritual counseling, etc. We'd rather not reinvent the wheel.
         Centering prayer has been under attack by some leaders who feel that it is simply a Christianized version of Transcendental Meditation ( TM )-a Hindu form of prayer. But centering prayer takes many forms, and those forms that draw nearer to TM, we discourage. But we subscribe to those forms that draw nearer to "contemplation" as defined by St. Theresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Again, our conservatism shows up here.
        A few Charismatic leaders have also practiced the "cleansing" of homes from Buddha statues, jars with dragons, etc., because the may have a connection to evil spirits.
       What is our stand? Sometimes, a devil paranoia is stirred up in people if we aren't careful-and this isn't good. Suddenly, they see a demon behind every odd-looking jar and décor that comes from Thailand or Singapore or China or Africa. But devil-paranoia doesn't glorify God but glorifies the devil. In 1 Corinthians 8, St. Paul didn't have devil paranoia when he addressed the problem of Christians eating the food offered to idols. He allowed them to eat it! But he cautioned that some Christians may have "weak faith" and so many not be able to eat it-nor should we do so in front of them as we may causes them to stumble.
       We ask you to pray and check your belief and search your heart. Do you keep these Buddha statues as a good luck charm? Then discard them because your trust in God's love will make all good luck charm unnecessary. But if they are there in the same way that Vatican museum in Rome collects the many gifts that countries have given the Church-as an artistic collection and nothing more-then search your heart. Are you bothered by their presence in your home? If not, then praise the Lord-you believe in God reigns over everything in your home. If bothered by them, then do something about it. Either you bless them with holy water, invite a priest to exorcise these objects, or simply discard them. Borrowing the words of St. Paul, do you have a "strong faith" or "weak faith" in the matter?
       What follows next are stories of people who testify to how God delivered them from the "evil" that has haunted them.

       We need to be warned about certain "games" and what others may call "harmless recreation" as spiritually dangerous. According to Dr. Neil Anderson from his book, THE SEDUCTION OF OUR CHILDREN, here are a few things we should avoid for our own safety:
Astrals Projection
Supposedly an out-of-body experience, but it's simply a mind trip. In reality, we only separate once from our body, and that is in our death. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8) Any other "soul trip" can be merely deception of the enemy.
Fortune Telling
We are never consult people who claim to know the future through divination-through tarot cards, crystal balls, palm reading etc. Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; and 20:27 tells us not to consult mediums or spiritists. Rather, we should trust God for our future!
Astrology
We are not influenced by the order of the celestial bodies during the time we were born! But alas, more people pathetic, because horoscope is based on chance, but the Bible is God's Word for our lives-and eternity.
Dungeons and Dragons
This is a habit-forming fantasy game of death and the underworld. According to a survey, 43% of the students who have played this game reported impulsive thoughts to kill as opposed to only 16% percent among students who haven't played the game.
Crystal and Pyramids
Among shaman groups, natural crystals are power objects. Crystal and pyramids are associated with the New Age movement and should be avoided.
Ouija boards
Tell your children are isn't like Monopoly or any other board game. It can usher them to the harmful world evil spirits. If the game works, then the players have tapped into the demonic.
Automatic writing
This is a practiced by spiritual mediums who enter into a trance and then write down her impressions.
Spirit guides
Dr. Neil Anderson and many Christian leaders believe that they are nothing more than demons in disguise. New Age groups encourage people to have one through imagery, and though they may seem to be "helpful" at first, they wreck havoc in your life.
Heavy metal music
Dea Lucas, a high priestess in the church of Satan in Van Nuys, California claims that heavy metal is a prime recruiting tool for their church. She says, "Heavy metal groups are influencing the kids to come to Satan! The groups are into Satanism even though they may deny it. Just by listening to the lyrics, being a satanist myself, I can read between lines."
Video Games with Occultic Influence
Though not bad by themselves, some games draw the curiosity of kids into the New Age and the occult world: Hero's Quest, Phantasie, Wizard Crown, The Secret of the Silver blade, Dragon, Castlevania, Altered Beast. Better yet, screen the games that your children are playing with.
source: KERYGMA catholic magazine
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