Why, exactly, are evil spirits something to be concerned about? Can they really harm -- or deceive -- a Catholic?
A few answers come from Father Jose Francisco C. Syquia, director in the Archdiocese of Manila's Office of Exorcism.
"It is important to remember," says Father Syquia, "that if the entities manifesting are of a diabolical nature, then they must be driven out in the Name of Jesus. There is no such thing as a mutual peaceful co-existence with elementals or nature spirits since no one in his right mind would want an invisible liar and murderer filled with hatred in one's home.
"They will always clandestinely affect the persons in the home in a negative manner, one way or the other, whether through sicknesses like heart attacks, headaches and stomach aches, relational problems and division within the family, emotional and psychological illnesses like impatience, anger, and depression, temptations like lust, pride, and sloth with regard to one's prayer life and Christian obligations; weakening of faith in God, as well as failures in businesses and other endeavors."
Do you ever suspect that something has entered your surroundings but decide to ignore it? Has anything "walked in the door" with you, or been around the area?
It may be affecting you and your family in ways you don't recognize -- something you pass off as in the run of normal ups and downs in life. Or, it deceived. Evil comes as good. It draws sympathy. It is "beneficial" (on the surface).
Cast out. Use Holy Water. Verbalize in the authority of Jesus.
Tempting they can be. We recall a seer to whom Satan appeared as the most handsome man she'd ever seen, promising her "success in love and life" if she followed him. This also occurred to the great mystic Marie-Julie Jahenny; according to a booklet about her, the devil came to her "under the appearances of a young man of great beauty, always promising cures, riches, etcetera."
There it is again: money. Surface beauty. Benefit. Prestige.
Beware that which seduces (and has sudden, irresistible charisma). We think of such matters in this month of the Great Archangels.
As the Filipino exorcist, in a book called Exorcism: Encounters with the Paranormal and the Occult, notes, "A final point that should be stressed is the appearance of these spirits when they manifest themselves. They usually show themselves in different form so that they desire according to the effect they want to produce, like fear or appeal. For those especially in the New Age, these spirits can appear as beautiful and handsome entities. But a demon's true form, a being totally cut off from the Beautiful Who is God, would truly be a horrifying image to behold."