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AN INTRIGUING MENTION BY JESUS OF 'GHOST' BRINGS QUESTION OF HEALING, DELIVERANCE
It was there in the Mass readings two weeks ago:
When there was fright in seeing Jesus' after the Resurrection, the Lord replied, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have."
That's in Luke 24 and it's fascinating because Jesus Himself used the word "ghost" -- defined as the spirit or manifestation of the deceased.
Perhaps it is an answer to those who wonder if belief in such manifestations is properly Catholic.
If there were no such thing as a ghost, why would Jesus refer to such (and why would His disciples think in this fashion)?
Another term for "ghosts" may be "earthbound spirits": there are those who claim that the deceased can become "stuck" here on earth through obsessions or unfinished business or because they refuse to go to the Light of that very same Jesus (perhaps fearful of judgment).
In a famous case, a prominent psychiatrist named George Ritchie asserted that during a glimpse into the beyond that the Lord showed him how many spirits roam the world (including a bar where alcoholic spirits sought to relive their alcoholism through the living). Padre Pio once said he ministered to more unseen spirits than physical people.
The supernatural -- the spirit -- gets trapped in the natural (perhaps through obsessions with a home, jewelry, or family members), and the question of the week is whether this can cause us problems.
"Spirits will remain earthbound because they are attached to a place or a thing," claims a woman from Ohio who specializes in helping "plagued" families. "I always think of these ghosts as being the people who never quite believed the famous phrase, you can't take it with you.'" She says she has noted such problems when children won't stay in a room, pets react strangely, or there is sudden tension or illness in a particular location.
"Other folks may have built a house and raised a family there," she adds. "And now their spirits don't want to leave. Perhaps someone else cannot bear the thought of a life without their beloved sports car or her treasured piece of jewelry. Or maybe it's just that they don't want anyone else to get their hands on these things. Some of the most commonly cursed places are hotels or bedroom-and-breakfasts and resorts."
We have to be extremely careful with this. Never initiate communication. That's necromancy, which is condemned. If there is really a spiritual factor behind a problem, it could be a demon.
Still, in the Gospel passage, it wasn't a "demon" that was mentioned, but a ghost. Jesus certainly knew the difference between a "ghost" and a "demon." He was not referring to an evil spirit per se. But can "earthbound" souls also do damage?
We get reports of ghostly manifestations in the news stream on a constant basis. Those who research this area claim that deceased relatives can "hang around" a family, causing problems that can be emotional or physical. It makes sense to this point: if indeed spirits of the deceased affect us, it may be a negative effect, for we die with the same personality, and the effect of an antagonistic person may be antagonistic.
For your prayerful consideration.
When such a prospect arises, the safe thing is simply to have a Mass said for whoever may be plaguing your house, workplace, or vicinity. Souls may be doing purgatory on earth, according to St. Pio. At Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother said that souls of the departed are sometimes allowed to manifest (as a reminder to pray for them). Others say that ill-willed spirits can "haunt" a location or person even to the point of causing physical maladies, or be passed down the family tree -- clinging to relatives.
We're not sure about that, but there do seem to be many families that are spiritually plagued by something that comes down through the generations. Are there strange disturbances in your home? Or is there a mysterious block in your life? Does the same sin seem to haunt various family members? Are there mysterious ailments (physical or mental)? Is there a feeling of disruption (including of sleep)?
If so, you may want to consider having a priest bless your home (this never hurts), and use Holy Water liberally. Ask the Blessed Mother to purge your home of anything that may be invisibly afflicting you (and your loved ones). Prayer is the answer to everything! And perhaps say this prayer (designed by a priest who is an expert in this field):
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