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Could it be true that spiritual darkness is often inherited and that at times a person may be suffering to purge that darkness from the family?

What is generational healing?

These are questions addressed by a priest named Father Stefan Starzynski who himself both has undergone deliverance for what may have been a darkness in his family tree and now travels about healing in this fascinating regard.

In a new book called Miracles, Healing for a Broken World, Father Starzynski describes how he was struck one night by a lightning bolt -- a "spiritual lightning bolt" -- that sent energy from his head to his hands. "I looked at my arm and saw that it was pulsating with what felt like a thousand volts of electricity," he writes. "It was scary not to have any control over my body. So I cried, 'Jesus, let it stop!' And it stopped."

When the priest called a friend who is an exorcist, the exorcist explained that the Lord had given him "a sovereign deliverance from the power of evil."

Later that day, writes the Virginia priest, in a chapter called "Curses, Evil Spirits, and Generational Healing," Father Stefan looked in the mirror "and could clearly see that there was something evil inside of me that I was battling. I saw an image of my face contorted, and I could hear ugly noises coming out of me. Instead of being scared, however, I thought, If this is something not of God, I will fight it to the absolute end."

Father Starzynski, who ministers at St. Mary of Sorrows in Fairfax, came to learn that a great-great grandfather had two children -- one who was Father Starzynski's namesake (Stefan) -- who had been killed by a defrocked Polish priest in 1907!

In other words, curses against that priest for killing the two young ancestors may have been hanging in the family tree -- dispelled only when many decades later, Father Starzynski carried and was delivered of this burden.

Fascinating it is that the priest came to know this after he was struck by a second bolt of spiritual lightning -- this one with "voltage about 10,000 times stronger" and causing him to fall to the ground, as if he were touching an electric fence.

When another priest came to his assistance and touched him (this was during a prayer meeting), he too felt the current of "electricity."

More astonishingly, Father Starzynski came to learn that around that very same time, a second cousin had just had a family tree completed by a professional. It was through this research that they learned about the murders!

To compound the coincidence, it turned out that Father Starzynski's sister -- who cleaned homes for extra money -- had done so at the home where the murders took place.

What goes around comes around. "Those curses uttered through the years fell on me," he says. His suffering and purging, however, ended the curse.

After his own encounter with evil, Father Starzynski began assisting others.

One was a boy named Chris who heard "demons" and "witches" -- the residue ancestral bondages in England.

"Immediately I decided to do a healing Mass for the generations," he says. "When you go back fifteen generations, it's amazing what you will find. Among other things, the Holy Spirit revealed events such as murder, rape, abortion, drowning, and people killed by fire. After we did the Mass, Chris no longer heard the voices or saw horrid images."

In another case, both Father Starzynski and a woman named Mary he was helping both saw Jesus appear "as a high priest in white robes." The woman -- who had been seriously ill with a mysterious affliction that was diagnosed as terminal, but from which she would periodically recover -- saw one large serpent and five small ones during the deliverance "and Jesus wiped them away with a motion of His Hand."

What is in our family trees? Is it perhaps our mission to purge evil -- reverse the curse, for the sake of  subsequent generations?

The problem: the Church is not currently teaching much about such aspects of Christianity (which were widely practiced in the first centuries). "In all my seminary training," writes the priest, "we were taught very little about the devil or evil spirits. I think our professors would have said that they theoretically accepted the devil, but this teaching was not included in the seminary curriculum."

[resources: Miracles: Healing a Broken World]

[see also: Maryland-D.C.-Virginia retreat: healing, deliverance]

[As with any mystical circumstance, we urge lengthy prayer and fasting before involvement]

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