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@Spirit Daily

As we gather with our families this Christmas it's a good time to purge. All of us need to pray certain things away from or out of our families and God listens powerfully on the birthday of His Son. Thus, Christmas is a unique opportunity to dispense of family demons.

Perhaps this is meant literally. It's a controversial realm but there are a growing number of priests ministering what is known as "generational" or "family" healing. One of them is Father Robert DeGrandis, a St. Joseph priest who has written more than 25 books and has conducted healing in more than 30 countries (at least by the last count we saw). "There has been a growing recognition of inheritance that goes far beyond physical characteristics, to include the psychological make-up as well," he writes. "How often do we hear about anger or stubbornness running in a family? But if I am always angry, my father was always angry, and my grandfather was always angry, it had to start somewhere. Anger, somewhere in its source, is unlove that never was healed." 

In other words, just as there are physical and behavioral tendencies that we inherit, so are there tendencies in the spirit. We all know what was inherited from Adam and Eve, and we're all familiar with that part of Scripture that discusses "sins of the father" (Exodus 34:7). 

Spirituality is passed down the generations in a way we can't see and yet in a way that according to Father DeGrandis and another priest, Father John H. Hampsch of Los Angeles, can have profound effects -- even causing illness. "Old, unresolved and unforgiven hurts appear to be 'inherited,' or genetically encoded into the system and acted out in future generations," says Father DeGrandis in a book called Intergenerational Healing. "There are unresolved hurts so strong that they get into the bloodline and keep coming up to be resolved in future generations."

There are sins. There are hurts. There is unforgiveness. When something has happened in the past that has not been forgiven, this can haunt a family until it is forgiven. Strange as it may sound, we may need to offer up Masses for ancestors we don't even know and in our prayers -- in our hearts -- forgive them. Of course, it's most important to forgive those living. When a family strives to live together in unselfish love and to worship God together (as at Christmas), its members will know contentment and harmony, notes Father Hampsch -- but if they're negligent, "they will experience God's judgment negatively by the presence of domestic strife, jealousy, infidelity, suspicion, unhappiness, marital discord, broken marriages, suspicion, arguments, recalcitrance in children, arguments, addictions, in-law conflicts." 

These two priests, both well-educated (in the case of Father Hampsch, a former seminary professor and psychological consultant), claim there are even curses. "Just as the Lord's Spirit can touch people and set them free physically and psychologically, the evil spirit can also bind people at the time of the curse and into future generations," notes Father DeGrandis -- who we caught up with recently and who is still actively ministering around the world.

There is often murder in a family's background, notes the priest, and also a great problem with occultism. When an ancestor dabbled with fortune-telling, mediumship, clairvoyance, and of course witchcraft, these spirits, like genes, are passed down the generations. This substantiates the sacrament of Baptism, for as soon as a child is born, it needs to be dedicated to Christ and delivered from anything demonic. Healing priests often suggest placing a chart of the family tree on the altar during a special Mass for the family. It takes persistent prayer, and we have to go to God for answers. "Only the Holy Spirit, Who searches the minds and hearts and discerns our deepest needs (Romans 8:27), can know what is ready to be healed," writes Father DeGrandis, whose books are among our most popular. 

Often, those searching for a reason why something is plaguing their family will be surprised at how the Spirit shows them something in their ancestry (often occultism) of which they were not familiar. In this way, says Father DeGrandis, those who are strong-willed are delivered of the need to control and those who still have an abused child within them are healed and those who say no to the darkness of what they have inherited begin to find health, whether physically or emotionally. 

If one part suffers, every part suffers, and this suffering can be stopped.

Are there too many accidents in your family? Is there ill fortune? 

Go to Confession. Attend Mass. Offer the Rosary. Fast. Intercede for the Lord to forgive the sins of ancestors. "We are talking about 'blessing all that is within us' (Psalm 103:1) through forgiveness," says Father DeGrandis, "and thus hopefully changing the pattern of future generations." 

Even one member of a family may be the instrument of God in the salvation of all others in the family tree or household, claim these two fascinating priests. What we need to do is pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as to what a problem may be -- really pray for illumination -- and then take the matter to Jesus in the Eucharist. At Mass, many bondages can be broken, and the way to prepare for this is to go to Confession. It's also a good time to hunt through the household and discard any books or objects pertinent to lust, astrology, or matters of the occult (including novels). 

Before Christmas, pray for guidance on how you can purge your own family. Ask the Holy Spirit what prayers to say. Ask God to remove hurts and curses. Plead the Blood of Christ. "In Jesus' Name and by His authority I come against this curse, etc. I call down the Precious Blood of Jesus and I break this curse on my family or person in the Name of Jesus," is one prayer Father DeGrandis suggests saying three times for each instance.

There are those who claim that even obesity or serious ailments like cancer haunt families in a way that can have a root that is spiritual. We see in Scripture how many times Jesus had to cast out a demon -- a demon of muteness or some other ailment -- before the illness left. Father Hampsch says generational spirits can cause alcoholism, psychological disorders, occultism, phobias, sexual sin, drug use, the spirits of control, anger, impatience, lust, and many forms of otherwise intractable physical illnesses. There may be simple behavioral causes in certain instances, but often there also seem to be spiritual holds -- and it is up to us break them!

Spirits cause unseen problems and it's time to free our families. Pray together this Christmas, or at least pray for each family member when you gather, in whatever way is feasible. Use Holy water in your homes. Pray for deliverance. Pray for your entire blood line and forgive every single family member who has caused you hurt (as well as ancestors!) and you may be surprised at the sudden onset of happiness!

(Father DeGrandis's book is available here and Father Hampsch's here; click here for Father Hampsch's website; Father Hampsch, Father DeGrandis, and Michael Brown will be among speakers at a retreat March 11-13 in the Philadelphia area [click here for details or call 856-768-9228])

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