INDIANAPOLIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - "The devil wants to disrupt every phase of your life to see if he can destroy you," an American exorcist told those who attended his recent lectures at an Indiana retreat house.
"The main goal of the devil is the conquest of civilization," said Fr. Vincent Lampert, the designated exorcist of the archdiocese of Indianapolis, at the Mother of the Redeemer Retreat Center in Washington, Indiana.
The priest explained the role of exorcists in the modern Church and the necessity of exorcism in the modern world in a series of five lectures, held from January 17–19, 2020.
Father Lampert explained the difference between the "ordinary" and "extraordinary" activity of the devil, an attendee told Church Militant.
Extraordinary activity includes demonic infestation in a location or an object; demonic vexation often including cuts, burns, bleeding sores and other physical attacks; diabolical obsession or thinking; and diabolical possession, he explained.
In one lecture, Fr. Lampert described the fourfold attack that satan commonly launches in our ordinary, everyday lives.
Taking cues from Fr. Louis John Cameli's The Devil You Don't Know, Recognizing and Resisting Evil in Everyday Life, Lampert pointed to the "four Ds" of the devil's work: deception, division, diversion and discouragement.
The devil lies, inverts reality and pulls us off track, Fr. Lampert said. The devil deceptively promises that you will not die, but you will be like God. His deceitful promises have to do with the future, but gratitude has to do with the past, and love with the present, the priest said. Fear has to do with the future, and this is when hope in the future and trust in God are thrown out the window. It's not an accident that keeping fear at bay is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible, the priest said.
When we buy into the lies, it leads us to scandal and depression. We then become divided from God, from each other and from our very selves, he emphasized.
The devil's division, Fr. Lampert explains, runs counter to Our Lord's healing, reconciling and unifying. The devil breaks us apart and stirs up our fears. The devil pushes us to compare ourselves with others, become angry and resentful and fall prey to resentment and impatience. This can lead to addictive behavior, drugs, pornography and divorce.
"We're in a fight with drugs, the occult, pornography," he explained. "This is an entry point for evil and we need to take these souls back."
Diversion means getting off task and succumbing to relativism, to a belief that nothing really matters, the exorcist said. When there is no stable truth, one's life becomes a jumbled, disconnected mess. We become distracted, anxious and fearful about the future. We become self-absorbed, perhaps obsessed with a task, and lose focus on God.
Discouragement is "the most dangerous threat to spiritual life," the exorcist says. He refers to what is inscribed over the entrance of Hell in Dante's Divine Comedy: "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here." Discouragement will derail us on our journey to God, inflicting us with an "I don't care" attitude, melancholy, sloth, spiritual laziness and personal disappointment.
Our response to the ordinary activity of the devil, according to the priest, is to reset our interior life onto God and stay the course; we need to fear God and not the devil, and "replace fascination with evil with fascination with God."
Making a sincere confession defuses the power of the devil, as does attending Holy Mass, receiving Holy Communion, and participating in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. "Putting on the whole armor of God," is in order, said the priest.
The exorcist also talked about how Marian devotions assist in diminishing the power of the devil in ordinary and extraordinary situations and how references to Mary's titles and Marian apparitions, such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Guadalupe evoke the strongest reactions of the devil during an exorcism.
"The devil could not touch Mary because she was full of grace," he said. He quoted Charles Chaput, former archbishop of Philadelphia as saying: "This is why the young Jewish woman ... who punches the devil in the nose was, is, and always will be the great defender of the Church."
"The situation is dire," Fr. Lampert said, regarding the need for exorcists and exorcism, "because rampant pornography, illegal narcotic use and the occult have made it easier for Satan to cast his net."
"Exorcism is like triage. We're the emergency crew, but there aren't enough of us," Lampert said.