Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ordonis Exorcistae : God's Special Forces


These are dangerous times, a war is being waged against us, the battlefield is vast , stretching from the depths of our souls to above the highest heavens. The enemy is advancing on a wide front, it has gained powerful friends in the media, greatly amplifying it's propaganda, sympathizers in the highest offices in the land actively work to undermine the structures of our society, and even some of our own forces have been turned into what might at best be called "useful idiots".

To help us we have our own Special Forces trained to fight the enemy when he is at his most bold and dangerous, when they make their aims clearest: to destroy us, body and soul.

In America, a land of over 300 million people, there are just 10 of them.

Like the U.S. after Vietnam, the Church since Vatican II in large part has followed a policy of unilateral disarmament. In an at once arrogant and naive fit of cosmic-sized self delusion, we decided that if we just believed hard enough that Satan didn't exist. then maybe he wouldn't. We are paying a terrible price for our ignorance. As the old saying goes "if you don't believe in something , you'll believe in anything". In the aftermath paganism sprouted like weeds in empty lots and demons began their terrible harvest among those who, in their hunger for the Spirit opened their souls to any and all.

The good news is that we are finally waking up to the danger we face. Last month in Baltimore over 110 Bishops and priests met for the “Conference on the Liturgical and Pastoral Practice of Exorcism,” They heard speakers such as Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Houston-Galveston, who discussed the scriptural basis of evil and others who examined the spiritual, pastoral and practical aspects of this growing ministry. And growing it is, faced with a rising sea of need the number of exorcists in Poland has jumped from 10 to over 300 in the last decade. In Italy the number has grown tenfold. And even in Germany the most 'liberal' and aggressively secular part of the Catholic Church in Europe exorcists have had to be called in from abroad to deal with the hundreds of of people tortured by inner voices and seeing hideous creatures in their sleep, shocking the German Catholic hierarchy which after the case of Anneliese Michel in 1973 has shied away from the ancient Rite.

The roots of the Rite of Exorcism go back to earliest Christianity with the Bible recording numerous cases of Jesus and the Disciples casting out demons, and though even many Catholics do not know it the Rite of Baptism is considered an Exorcism (albeit a minor one). In order to carry out a Major Exorcism a priest must get the permission of his local Bishop (who by definition is the chief exorcist of the diocese). Then an extensive investigation is undertaken by a team that includes medical Doctors, and mental health experts who are there expressly to find a non-supernatural cause for the victim's suffering, as it has been recognized even from medieval times that most of those who seek help are in need of physical or mental, not spiritual healing. Some priests even prefer atheists to perform these evaluations as there is less chance of unconscious bias. Some signs that the priest will look for to determine if this is indeed a case of possession are:


  • Victim speaks or understands unknown languages without ever studying the language being spoken or heard
  • Victim clearly knows things that are distant or hidden
  • Victim can predict future events (sometimes through dreams)
  • Victim has an intense hatred for holy things
  • Victim shows a physical strength far above his age or normal condition
Most possessed will show more than one of these traits.

Then the priest, clothed in his stole which symbolizes his authority, and armed with crucifix, holy water and, the relics of the saints will by the power and authority of Jesus Christ command the demon to flee. The Rituale Romanum contains much practical advice for the exorcist.

(RULE 5) Let the exorcist note for himself the tricks and deceits which evil spirits use in order to lead him astray. For they are accustomed to answering falsely. They manifest themselves only under pressure--in the hope that the exorcist will get tired and desist from pressuring them. Or they make it appear that the subject of Exorcism is not possessed at all.

(RULE 6) Sometimes, Evil Spirit betrays its presence, and then goes into hiding. It appears to have left the body of the possessed free from all molestation, so that the possessed thinks he is completely rid of it. But the exorcist should not, for all that, desist until he sees the signs of liberation.

(RULE 10) The Exorcist must remember, therefore, that Our Lord said there is a species of Evil Spirit which cannot be expelled except by prayer and fasting. Let him make sure that he and others follow the example of the Holy Fathers and make use of these two principal means of obtaining divine help and of repelling Evil Spirit.

(RULE 20) During Exorcism, the exorcist should use the words of the Bible rather than his own or somebody else's.
One of the most famous cases of possession was, as mentioned above, the case of Anneliese Michel the inspiration for the movie 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' . Born September 21, 1952 in Leiblfing, Bavaria, Germany Anneliese was a very devout girl, to the extent that she attempted to atone for the sins of wayward priests by sleeping on the bare floor during the dead of winter. soon after she turned 16 she began hearing voices threatening her with damnation. She quickly went downhill from there, she tore off her clothes, ate coal and spiders off the floor, and licked up her own urine.

Doctors seemed unable to help and after 10 months of useless medical treatment she gave up on secular healers and turned to the spiritual authorities for help. For six months exorcism was attempted, a time during which she barely ate or drank and on July 1, 1976, Anneliese Michel died in her sleep. In keeping with the Catholic view on the redemptive power of suffering Anneliese believed that her torments were allowed by God in order to convince the world that the Devil is indeed real. Below is an audio recording of part of the exorcism of Anneliese Michel, with english subtitles. ( warning: extremely disturbing)


Be aware that exorcism is an area of extreme danger and those who delve into the depths of this kind of spiritual warfare can expect to be attacked in all aspects of their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. Mess with the goat get the horns. You have been warned.


St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits..
Be sure and read my other posts and learn more about the links between the ancient, the sacred, and the modern world.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The Duchess of X !


Candle, Chant,&Chalice would like to extend warmest congratulations to HRH William of Wales on the occasion of his engagement to Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.

One question is how this soon-to-be newest member of the Royal Family will be styled. The simplest form would be 'HRH Catherine of Wales'. She would NOT be 'Princess Catherine' (no matter how much you see this term in the papers) Prince William has a courtesy title, in other words, he has no title of his own, he is a Prince merely by virtue of being the grandson of the Monarch.(William's father Charles had his own title 'Prince of Wales' when he wed and thus his wife became Princess)  Because of this the closest that Kate could get to the title 'Princess' would be 'HRH Princess William'.....I think we can safely say that one is off the table.

The next option would be, given the Queen's custom of bestowing Dukedoms on her male descendants soon after their wedding, that she will be known as ' HRH Catherine, Duchess of X ' So what would 'X' be? Royal custom is that the Sovereign's eldest son is give the Duchy of Cornwall (and this is indeed where Prince Charles derives most of his income), the second son is given York as his Dukedom (Prince Andrew, created Duke of York on 23 July 1986), traditionally Prince Edward would have been made  Duke of Connaught, however he turned down a Dukedom for reasons of his own and was given the ancient title 'Earl of Wessex' leaving the Duke of Connaught  open as a possible title.

Unfortunately there are political problems with that title. Thus last time it was bestowed was in 1874 when the whole of Ireland was subject to HM Queen Victoria, that is no longer the case and the Irish nation would probably take umbrage at the current Monarch gifting them with a Duke in lands which are no longer under her sovereignty. Next in precedence would be the Dukedom of Cambridge, and that is my prognostication, by the end of next summer we will be greeting 'their Royal Highnesses Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge'.

Visit us again for more on the sacred nature of both Marriage and Monarchy.
Be sure and read my other posts and learn more about the links between the ancient, the sacred, and the modern world.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dragonslayer


"Sr Jo Conyers of Storkburn Knt who slew ye monstrous venoms and poysons wiverms Ask or worme which overthrew and Devourd many people in fight, for the scent of poyson was soo strong, that no person was able to abide it, yet he by the providence of god overthrew it and lyes buried at Storkburn before the Conquest, but before he did enterprise it (having but one sonne) he went to the Church in compleat armour and offered up his sonne to the holy ghost, which monument is yet to see, and the place where the serpent lay is called Graystone."

(From British Museum MS Harleian No. 2118, fo. 39, circa 1625-49)


Most people would say that dragon-slaying swords were a thing of the distant past or 1980's cult fantasy movies, but the truth is that there is at least one place on earth where you can go and still see a sword on display that is said to have killed a dragon.
In the treasury of the Durham Cathedral under the care of it's Prince-Bishop the Conyers Falchion lies in a dimly lit room encased in glass.

For the feat of having slain the Stockburn Wyrm in about 1063 the Conyers family was later granted the Manor and demesne of Sockburn-on-Tees (formerly known as Storkburn)
The sword was later given for safekeeping to the Cathedral of Durham and the custom became that as each new Prince-Bishop of Durham entered his Bishopric for the first time The Baron of Sockburn would offer the falchion to the new Bishop thus acknowledging him as his overlord and the principal combatant against the Wyrm Satan. The sword was then returned to the Lord and he was quit of all services due.
This tradition continues today with the new Prince-Bishops of Durham being presented with the Sword and the speech traditionally made by the Lords of Sockburn:
"My Lord Bishop. I hereby present you with the falchion wherewith the champion Conyers slew the worm, dragon or fiery flying serpent which destroyed man, woman and child; in memory of which the king then reigning gave him the manor of Sockburn, to hold by this tenure, that upon the first entrance of every bishop into the county the falchion should be presented."
As a postscript; the Sockburn Wyrm was immortalized as the 'Jabberwock' by Lewis Carroll in his poem 'Jabberwocky". Carroll lived in Croft on Tees as a boy and it was there he wrote the first verse of the rhyme.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Lamb's Supper

This post is based on Scott Hahn's wonderful book 'The Lamb's Supper' you can find a link to purchase it at the bottom of the page.

The Lamb's Supper



The book of the Revelation has long and notoriously been regarded as the "weirdest" book of the Bible. After all it has page after page of: wars, plagues, beasts, angels, rivers of blood, seven-headed dragons, and demonic frogs. As a result most Christians have either tried to politely ignore the book or have become obsessed by it. They try to force one interpretation after another onto the scriptures in a desperate attempt to make sense out of it's bizarre imagery: Premillenial, postmillenial, amellenial, pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation. Each seems to explain part of this book but to many people none seems to explain it all. Recently the most popular interpretive keys seem to have been the Millenium and the Anti-Christ. But the Millenium is a concept which does not appear until Chapter 20. And then promptly disappears. The "Tribulation" likewise only occurs for a few verses and then is gone. Other favorite "end-times" ideas such as the Rapture and even the Anti-Christ himself do not appear in the book at all!

But to the early Church the book was not a mystery at all. That was because to them the key to interpreting the Book of the Revelation was the ritual ceremony which formed the center of their spiritual lives: The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, the Church's remembrance of Christ's Last Supper. This interpretation was universal in the early church and still is to this day in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. In the West however this interpretation has been lost especially among the Protestants who, after the Reformation, lost the liturgical background even to apply it. But even a surface reading of the book reveals that it is soaked in the words and imagery of liturgical worship:


Sunday worship 1:10
A High Priest 1:13
An Altar 8:3-4, 11:1, 14:18
Priests (prestbyteroi) 4:4, 11:15, 14:3, 19:4
Vestments 1:13, 4:4, 6:11, 7:9, 15:6, 19:13-14
Lamp stands 1:12, 2:5
Call for Repentance Chps: 2-3
Incense: 5:8, 8:3-5
Reading from a book (scroll) 5:1
Holy Bread 2:17
Chalices 15:7, Ch. 16, 21:9
The Gloria 15:3-4
The Alleluia 19:1, 3, 4, 6
"Holy, Holy Holy" 4:8
the Lamb of God 5:6 and throughout
Call and response chant 4:8-11
Silent contemplation 8:1
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb 19:9, 17

These are all elements of the early Church's celebration of the Lord's Supper and the current worship of many liturgical Churches even today. The similarities between Revelation and the liturgy of the Eucharist go deeper that merely surface imagery , they go down into the very structure of the book itself. But wait! You say, the worship of the early Church wasn't liturgical…. Wrong. Yes, in many ways it resembled a modern day charismatic worship service. But very early it also developed some set pieces such as a regular schedule of readings from the scriptures (inherited from the synagogue) and the celebration of the Lord's Supper. Evidence for this can be found in the book of Acts. The King James version of Acts 13:2a reads: "As they ministered to the LORD and fasted…" Now the word translated as "ministered" is in the Greek leitourgeon, and as the word itself suggests it means literally "to perform the liturgy" This is one of admittedly few instances where the translators of the KJV let their anti-Catholic bias get in the way of their duty to accurately translate the word of God. The New American Bible has a better wording: "as they were performing the liturgy of the LORD and fasting"

More details of John's vision become clearer if we remember whom the intended audience of his letter was: early (and still very Jewish ) Christians. As Jewish Christians they would immediately recognize the Jerusalem Temple in John's description of Heaven. In the Temple, as in John's Heaven, the Menorah (seven gold lampstands of Rev. 1:12) and the altar of incense stood before the Holy of Holies. In the Temple, four carved cherubim adorned the walls , as the four living creatures minister before the throne in John's Heaven. Revelation 4:4's twenty four priest (elders) replicate the twenty-four
priestly divisions of the Levites who served in the Temple. The "Sea of glass like crystal"(Rev. 4:6) was the Temple's large pool of polished bronze that held 11,500 gallons of water. At the center of Revelation's Temple, as in Solomon's, was the Ark of the Covenant (Rev. 11:19). This should not really be surprising since when Moses was given the instructions for building the Sanctuary in the book of the Exodus he was told to build it according to the plan of all he had seen in heaven.

In chapter 5 though we see the climax of John's vision. He is told to turn and see the "Lion of Judah" but as he turns he sees not a lion, but a Lamb "standing as if slain" Now think about that, slain lambs don't usually stand. But now remember the Christian service of Holy Communion , in that service the body of Christ is broken and His blood is poured out, and yet we believe that Christ is alive. What John sees is how the Lord's Supper appears from the perspective of Heaven. What appears to you to be bread and wine is From God's point of view the body, blood soul and divinity of His only begotten Son. Likewise to you it may seem that you are sitting in your local congregation dressed in your Sunday best, prehaps singing a hymn slightly off-key; but John shows us the scene from the view of the Almighty : You stand in the throne room of God dressed in a white robe, singing a mighty hymn of praise.To many Protestants who beleive that the Lord's Supper is merely a memorial this belief in the "real presence" is strange. The Church however was universal in this belief from the very earliest times. As evidence I give you St. Ignatius of Antioch, a man who learned the Christian faith at the feet of the Apostle John himself and who later in life was consecrated Bishop of Antioch by Peter, a position to which he had been nominated by Paul. Ignatius flatly states that the definition of a heretic is one who denies that the bread and wine really is the body and the blood of our Lord. John's vision demonstrates
conclusively that in God's eyes the bread and wine are the body and blood of His Son; and as far as we are concerned that should settle the matter.

Significantly, this eucharistic interpretation of the Revelation to John, also clears up another great mystery about the book. From the very first verse to the last Jesus talks about His coming and the things which He describes as occurring "soon". Now however it is two thousand years on and we are stretching the meaning of soon to the breaking point. Perhaps we can clear some of this up if we look at the word translated as "coming" As in "behold I am coming soon" (Rev. 22:12). The
word in Greek is Parousia. In english this word has come to refer to the Second Coming of our Lord almost exclusively. But if you look the word up in a Greek-English dictionary you will see that it's primary meaning is "presence". So It is not so much that Jesus is talking about His coming soon so much as that we will soon have His presence. When coupled with the belief of the early Church in the Real Presence, you can see how Jesus could promise His followers that he would be with them "soon". This is especially true when you realize that John's vision occurred on the Lord's Day, Sunday, the day when the Holy Eucharist was celebrated
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Ninth of Av



From an interview given to Haaretz.com:
Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, do you still believe a Third Temple will be built?


Certainly. We believe in that. We pray for that three times a day. It says in a Mishnah in the fifth chapter of "Pirkei Avot": "May the temple be rebuilt soon and in our days." That's one thing. The second thing is that all the Prophets spoke about the fact that [the Temple] had been destroyed by fire and would be rebuilt in fire in the future. Of all the prophecies of calamity that took place and everything [the Prophets] said, none of their words fell to the ground. That's also the way to understand their prophesies about consolation.
Why has it not happened to this day, 1,940 years since the destruction of the Second Temple?
That takes us back to the Talmudic tract Yoma 9 that tells us that the First Temple was destroyed because of idol worship, sexual immorality and bloodshed. These are the three most serious sins about which it is said that no matter what happens, these sins must not be committed. Then after 70 years we were forgiven and we had the privilege of getting the Second Temple just as Jeremiah had prophesied. But from the Second Temple that was destroyed - according to the same Yoma tract, because of unwarranted hatred - to this day the Third Temple has not risen, which teaches us that this sin has not yet been forgiven. We have not yet weaned ourselves off this sin. Apparently this sin is still haunting us to this day.

The Ninth of Av ( Heb. Tisha B'Av) has just passed, the anniversary of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples of the LORD. N. T. Wright in his book Jesus and the victory of God essentially agrees with the Rabbi's analysis of its destruction. The Temple had become a "den of thieves" The greek is lestai. A word also used for the nationalist Zealots. According to Wright, by focusing on narrow nationalism and the destruction of its earthly enemies Israel was forfeiting its God given mission to be a "light unto the Gentiles". By overturning the tables of the money changers and thus, however briefly halting the sacrifices, Jesus was demonstrating his royal and divine authority over the temple, that when it did not accomplish His purposes, He will not hesitate to bring it to an end.
Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple loom large in the Christian worldview. The maps of medieval Christendom showed Jerusalem at the center with the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa branching off from it. It has been called the "navel of the world" and it's Holy status is so great that to this day some are overwhelmed by it (see Jerusalem Syndrome).
Many have also noted that the Temple functioned as a "micro-cosm" of the world, its destruction symbolizing the destruction of the world itself. The Jewish hope so prayed for by Rabbi Lau, is, according to Christian prophecy, a foregone conclusion. The Temple will be rebuilt that it may be occupied, not by the Spirit of God, but by the Antichrist who shall reign over the last days. Preparations for the Temples rebuilding are well advanced, with plans, vessels and vestments all waiting for the laying of the cornerstone.


To those who seek the Signs of the Times, this shall be the final sign. When you see it you will know that the wood is dry and the fire about to be lit. To quote an old Catholic priest I knew:
"Remember what the Good Book says: we're gonna f*ck it up so bad it's gonna take God Himself to come down and save our a*ses"
 Be sure and read my other posts and learn more about the links between the ancient, the sacred, and the modern world.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Medieval vs. Modern


'In our world a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.' said Eustace 'No,' replied Ramandu 'Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of.' - C.S. Lewis 'Voyage of the Dawn Treader'
There is a famous essay by Michael Ward, a chaplain at Peterhouse College at Cambridge “C. S. Lewis and the Star of Bethlehem,” .In it Ward explores Lewis's view that something essential was lost when 'Modernity" took over. What was lost was the sense of wonder, the sense of the sacred, the sense that to exist on earth was to inhabit a Cathedral, not to be cast adrift in the meaningless ocean of space.
The knowledge that the world has meaning and life beyond only what we can see was part of Mankind's experience for untold millennia. It is only in a relatively short span that it has been discarded. In its place has been put a practical atheism, a requirement that, in public, at least we must all act as though God, even if he exist, is irrelevant. To do, advocate, or analyze anything from a purely religious perspective, is considered at best illegitimate, at worst a downright dangerous attempt to force your views on others.
The problem is as Chesteron said: "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing -- they believe in anything". The growing rise of neo-paganism is a slam-dunk testimony to this truth. Christians have railed against these “witches”. Harry Potter and Twilight have been pilloried. The tree-hugging pantheists have been ridiculed as being too deluded to worship the Creator, they worship creation instead.
But is this a bad thing? I contend that these are merely the birth pangs of a people rediscovering the sacred that has been forcibly withheld from them by the cultural elites for the last two centuries. One of the greatest obstacles to evangelization in recent decades has been that most consider the spiritual to be unconnected from their “real” lives. The pagan revival is doing exactly this, reminding them that the spiritual is more real than the world around them.
But they will not find their hearts desire in paganism, for it can only be found in God Himself. That is our opportunity. The day will come when we will hear words like those spoken by an Earl at the court of the pagan Saxon King of Northumbria upon hearing a missionary preach:
"I have long since been sensible that there was nothing in that which we worshiped, because the more diligently I sought after truth in that worship the less I found it. But now I freely confess that such evident, truth appears in this preaching as can confer on us the gifts of life, of salvation, and of eternal happiness"
These people yearn to worship, and the time is coming when we, Like St. Paul will reveal to them the Unknown God, whom they had been worshiping all along, though they knew it not.
Be sure and read my other posts and learn more about the links between the ancient, the sacred, and the modern world.
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