Healing of the Family,
by Fr. Robert DeGrandis, the highly
popular, charismatic priest takes a look at how we can heal our families of
spiritual disorders, how we must learn to pray for this, how to approach inner
healing, and how first we have to heal ourselves. He also discusses how to purge
negative spirits that may be haunting marriages.
EXCUSER OR ACCUSER? BALANCE IMPORTANT BETWEEN ENABLING WHAT'S EVIL AND EXPOSING IT
Are you an excuser or an accuser? There are extremes on both ends. An excuser often goes too far in trying to make light of every negative and letting everyone "off the hook."
Mercy is critically important in the Christian walk (as we judge, so will we be judged; Matthew 7:2), and it is always best to give a person the benefit of the doubt, to be a defense lawyer. The problem is if we become an "enabler": when our unwillingness to stand against wrong behavior is interpreted as a green light by whoever is doing or saying or thinking the wrong things. That turns us into "accomplices."
Sometimes, the most merciful -- and Godly -- thing we can do is stand our ground in the face of someone who is a transgressor. There is strength (and faith) in doing that, and often it serves to "pop" the bubble of pride or other waywardness around a person, who would otherwise simply carry on -- often at our expense. It is wrong to excuse someone who does not deserve to be excused and will not benefit from it. This is especially true, of course, with children (the Bible is clear on the fact that they should be fairly but firmly -- sometimes very firmly -- disciplined (see Sirach or Proverbs). If a person is constantly saying something that is wrong, this needs to be made accurate ("the truth will set you free," said Jesus, John 8:32; it will also set the other person free).
When we cower before evil, we enhance -- augment -- its ability to attack and sometimes even open our spirits to demons. We allow it to grow, empowering darkness. We allow it to fester. That's not mercy. It's a lack of strength (see Christ in that temple with the moneychangers). When a person is allowed to carry on with wrong behavior, that person can be like a loose fireman's hose -- spewing darkness in all directions.
We are not called to let others step on us. As one viewer, Colleen Gulish in Aliqippa, Pennsylvania, recently wrote, "Regarding lost things reappearing, my daughter bought me a hand made natural pearl bracelet with a magnetic clasp. I wore it once this past summer and lost it. I looked everywhere for it and called the local stores where I had been shopping that day, but no luck. I gave up and resigned myself to the loss.
"On January 1st of this year, I went to our Blue Army prayer group and was in line for Confession. Two prayer group members went in before me and when it was my turn I went in and started my confession. I noticed something on the small ledge on which you rest your hands. I looked closer and noticed it was a bracelet. On closer examination, I realized it was my missing bracelet! I also need to tell you, that I had made it one of my new year's resolutions to not 'cast my pearls before swine' anymore. I am always trying to be nice to people where I work and it is often a hostile environment. I decided to stop letting myself be hurt, to be Christian, but not to 'give my heart' to people who crush it underfoot. I had just been speaking to our Lord about this on my way to Mass and then in the confessional there was my pearl bracelet! After Mass I asked the two Blue Army prayer group members if they had put the bracelet in the confessional. Neither one had ever seen it before and they would have definitely noticed it where it was in the confessional."
We don't let other trample what is precious to us (especially our sense of who we are).
At the other extreme, however, is accusation -- the wrong tendency to be prosecutor. When this happens, we are always looking for the wrong in people. Prosecution can become persecution. Our society is currently full of this: those who want to see nothing but bad in relatives, friends, workmates, or those in the public eye.
Sometimes there is very good reason to recognize the evil so pervasive in our time as long as we don't overdo it and remember to look for good -- for light -- in them and see with the other person's eyes.
This too will set you free.
The greatest danger (in this regard) is gossip:
When we talk about the failings of others, it means we have pride and want to indicate how good we are in comparison. Leave this sort of stuff to Satan (the "great accuser").
As a mystical woman from Ireland named Eileen O'Driscoll writes, "It is funny but you always hear from gossips the bad news, about the bad things that people have done; you rarely hear about the good. When I see people gossiping, I think of a rosebush with the flowers dying (if it's not pruned, the energy will still be going into the dead flowers instead of producing new stems). The bad news is run by the power of Satan. He is able to manipulate people's minds. Jesus is the good news. We should start today and talk about the good, and stop criticizing. It only takes one person to change the habit of gossiping and speak well of people. After a while, when people see that putting others down is not tolerated, they too will change because they will have no one to listen to them."
In many experiences with mystics such as Maria Esperanza, we have always noted how rare it is to hear them criticize.
We all need to meditate on the many times that God has had mercy on us and we need to extend the same mercy to others.
At the same time, that doesn't mean cowering before evil, nor allowing evil to flourish with its lies; it doesn't mean to keep letting someone do the wrong thing, or get off without justice. Often this happens in our own families. There are times when -- guided by prayer (and tossing out anger) -- we need to hold firm. We need to let someone know that he or she has crossed a line. The fewer words, the better. Actions -- and silence -- often speak louder than words. The Holy Spirit will guide you. If you exercise patience, He will act in a powerful way at just the right time to correct a person without further tension and quarrels and division. When you hear bad news -- and sometimes we must -- just remember to pray and fast and respect God; this will take you above even scandal.
[resources: Spirit Daily pilgrimage to Medjugorje; Announcing a retreat in Dallas, March 26: prophecy, spiritual warfare, healing family tree; Retreat in New Orleans: Mass, blessings, deep prayers, new report on prophetic trends; and Retreat in New Mexico]
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