By: Chip Sundstrom
& Fr. Peter Sanders
Used with Permission

Spiritual Warfare & Deliverance FAQ's



Definitions and Premises:

Spiritual Warfare, the broader term, is essentially any activity or means of supernatural resistance which individuals employ against evil spirits in their lives or in the lives of others.

Deliverance is both prayer and a ministry. In the former sense, it is a type of spiritual warfare which is directed at expelling specific evil spirits from particular person, places or things in Jesus' name, and usually includes infilling and protection prayer.

Beyond the use of such prayer for oneself and in one's immediate family, it becomes the "ministry" of deliverance. In this area, it must be exercised in "strict dependence on the diocesan bishop in keeping with the norm of Canon 1172..." (See, "The Instructions On Prayer For Healing," November 23, 2000, by the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, Article 8 B, Paragraph 1). This ministry is not for everyone, and it is beyond the scope of this discussion. For those who would like an in-depth discussion about the ministry of deliverance, a few books on the subject have been provided at the end of this work.

Free Will: The first and most important spiritual rule, as far as human beings are concerned, is the absolute supremacy of the human free will. Neither angels nor demons may force a person's free will in the slightest degree. The latter may tempt, but not stronger than a person's ability to resist; the former may defend against temptation, but not prevent one's willing surrender to it, or the partaking in the sin involved. Almighty God Himself could, of course, force the human will, but He has promised Himself against doing that.

SIR 15, 14-17: "When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice. If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given to him."

Life Is Spiritual Warfare: Another thing which all Christians should clearly understand in conjunction with comprehending the meaning of life, is that life itself in continuous spiritual warfare! The Lord wants us to live our lives according to his word and the law which he has written on every human heart, and thereby merit eternal life; the forces of evil wish to derail each of us with the lure of sin through deception, so that the human personal result is damnation. Therein lies the conflict, as St. Paul tells us:

EPH 6, 10-17: Battle Against Evil. "Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

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How can a person during these modern times believe in demons? In my parish, such belief, and activities associated with them, are regarded as "superstition". It is even said that Hell itself, does not exist.

Within the so-called "dissident American Catholic Church", which is found in many places in the United States, and with some variation, in some other parts of the world, there is indeed teaching as described in the above question. Unfortunately, this profound error is held by many lay pastoral ministers, deacons, priests and bishops.

As to proof that evil spirits are real and personal beings with intellect and free will, consult the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" n. 392-393. Holy Scripture speaks of the fall of a large portion of the angelic beings in the Book of Revelations, (reordered for continuity):

REV 12, 7-9: "Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it."

REV 12, 4: "Its tail [(Satan's)] swept away a third of the stars [(angelic beings)] in the sky and hurled them down to earth."

Relative to the issue as to whether hell exists, and whether or not it is eternal, any Catholic who regularly attends Sunday Mass must be aware that Jesus warned us in numerous places of what he called, "Gehenna" or the place which the Church calls, "Hell", for example:

MATT 25, 41: "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'."

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Other than the Bible, are there any modern references to Demons and Hell?

Yes. For those who are devoted to the Blessed Mother, the Church's teaching on Hell (Cf. The Catechism, n. 1033-1037) was confirmed for us a Fatima on July 13, 1917 during what is called, "The Vision of Hell", as seen by the three young visionaries, and described in the booklet, "Our Lady of Fatima's 'Peace Plan From Heaven'" The following is a portion of the description of that event:

"As they peered into this dreadful place, the terrified youngsters saw huge numbers of devils and damned souls. The devils resembled hideous black animals, each filling the air with despairing shrieks. The damned souls were in their human bodies and seemed to be brown in color, tumbling about constantly in the flames and screaming with terror."

There is confirmation of the above citation and a good deal of additional information available about the Fatima apparitions on the Internet Website at

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Since demons have been condemned to Hell, why should we fear them here on Earth in our daily lives?

Beyond the Church's teaching, we have another approved apparition of the Blessed Mother (previous to Fatima) at La Salette, France, on September 19, 1846, as seen by Melanie Calvat and described on the Internet Website, in a related link titled, "Catholic Apparitions of Mary at La Salette, France."

Here Mary the Mother of Jesus said, in part:

"In the year 1864, Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosened from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God ... Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of kings of darkness, here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the savior of the world..."

Interested parties may want to visit the above-mentioned Website. It supplies pointers to many documents supporting the concept that our planet is currently suffering from an infestation of evil spirits.

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In what specific ways can evil spirits effect people and their lives?

Evil spirits can become involved in the lives of people in a number of ways, and various authors use some different terms, but here are a few which may be helpful, and it should be noted that they are attacks upon a person from the outside:

Temptation: This is probably the best known form of demonic interaction with humanity, but in fairness, not all temptation is from the infernal enemy. St. Paul tells us that sources of temptation are "the world, the flesh and the devil." Surely Catholic Charismatics recognize the allurement of the riches, things, places and consumerism of the world; and people know that men can act seductively against women, and visa versa; and everyone understands that one's own ego can get involved in situations where it shouldn't. The point here is that although the forces of darkness can and often do enhance temptation from the world and the flesh, they are not always the original source of such attractions.

Harassment: Having said the above things, there is a type of persistent unrelenting temptation to sin which can continue in spite of the use of one's free will to reject it. Also included in this category are distraction in prayer, evil dreams, intimidation, and things of this sort, any or all of which seem to endure despite one's best efforts to remove it or them. Such experiences are almost always from the evil one.

Affliction: This is a more serious form of demonic attack which can take the form of pain, mental and/or emotional upset; physical disorders, sickness, disease, accidents, addiction, and (in extreme cases) even death. For examples of some of these things, see JOB 1, 13-22; and 2, 1-10.

It is from the above-mentioned three forms of demonic attack, in their initial onset stages, at least, that individual Christians and their families can and should directly resist the powers of darkness. Each God-fearing person, especially Spirit-filled ones are entitled to be relatively free from demonic attack.

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Given the apparent power of demons, isn't it wiser to avoid any and all entanglements with them, especially if one is alone?

There are two questions here.

First, it might well seem to be a good idea for us to avoid such conflict, but in these times with the demonic infestation present in the world, everyone alive, especially Spirit-filled people are literally beset by the forces of evil and their human servants. We do not have the option of avoiding "entanglements" with them, for demons are absolutely committed to the destruction of the faith and marriages of Christians, and to dragging you, your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren into Hell with them.

Second, if one is diligently living the word of God, and maintaining a solid prayer and Sacramental life, then he or she is never alone. Beyond that, the Church and Holy Scripture (Cf. The Catechism, n. 336) teach that each of us has a Guardian Angel armed with the power of God. This angelic presence does not eliminate evil effort, as previously mentioned, but the demonic servants of Satan, as powerful as they are, may do no more than God allows.

1 COR 10, 13: "...God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide you with a way out, so that you may bear it."

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What sources are there which confirm that individuals are personally called to fight the forces of evil?

There is Holy Scripture which addresses that question:

JAS 4, 7: "...submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

Hopefully, all Catholic Charismatics are aware that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the 12 Apostles, and the 72 disciples all cast out demons. Further the Lord said:

JOHN 14, 12: "Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these..."

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What aids do we have to assist and direct us in the conflict with the forces of evil?

Our Lord and his Church have given us the Sacraments, certain Sacramentals and prayers to use against the demonic forces of darkness, and the Charismatic Renewal formally instructs us in their use.

As to the Sacraments, we have Our Lord Himself in the Eucharist, and frequent Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) to forgive and conquer personal sin. These should be the foundation of one's spiritual life, for together, they are the primary source of personal spiritual power to be used in the battle against evil.

Relative to Sacramentals, we have the Blessed Mother's Holy Rosary, another spiritually powerful practice which should be part of one's daily prayer life.

Other Sacramentals useful in spiritual warfare are Holy Water, Blessed Salt and Blessed Olive Oil. In order to be useful against demonic forces, these items must be blessed according to the blessings which the Church has given us in the Roman Ritual.

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Well, I have used Holy Water in times of temptation, and it didn't seem to do any good. What about that?

Unfortunately, sometimes priests and pastors take it upon themselves to use what might be called "the five second blessing" on all Sacramentals, including the ones mentioned above. This blessing sounds something like the one which is given at the end of Mass: "May almighty God bless you, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

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Well, isn't a blessing aWell, isn't a blessing a blessing? If a priest gives the "five second blessing" to something, isn't it blessed?

Yes and no. On the one hand, most assuredly, if a priest confers a blessing, the object or person in question is "blessed". On the other hand, Holy Water, for example, is specifically intended by the Church to fight demons and temptation. If the blessing given by a priest is different than the one set forth in the Roman Ritual, then what results is "Blessed Water" as opposed to "Holy Water". The personal use of such water brings a blessing upon an individual, but it is relatively useless in the fight against the forces of evil. The same is true of Blessed Salt and Blessed Olive Oil, for they too are intended by the Church to be used in the fight against the prince of darkness. In this area it is important to remember that Our Lord gave the Church the awesome power to bind and to loose:

MATT 16, 19: "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

It is assumed that all Catholic Charismatics understand that the Church has the formidable power to bind, prohibit or forbid on Earth, but we should also be aware that she has the opposite, that of loosing. Therefore, when any legitimately consecrated priest or prelate with the power to bless, thinks that he knows better than the Church how to sanctify a particular Sacramental, then so be it, in heaven as well. By using the "five second" blessing, a priest unwittingly "looses" the forces of evil here on earth, and permits them to remain, rather than to flee, or be cast out in Jesus name.

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Exactly what are the prayers of blessing which are specified in the Roman Ritual for Holy Water, Blessed Salt, and Blessed Olive Oil?

The blessing for Holy Water from the Roman Ritual will not be useful here, because Holy Water is usually made in large quantities in 5 or 10 gallon vats with a spigot at the bottom. It is usually made in the church Sacristy, and involves Blessed Salt and some lengthy prayers. The thinking here is, if you have "Blessed Water" in your parish rather than Holy Water, it would be impractical to carry a new quantity of water, the Blessed Salt, and the proper prayers into the church or Rectory, and ask to have Holy Water made to order.

Here is the Blessing from the Roman Ritual for Blessed Salt:

Priest: "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit"

Response: "Amen"

Blessing For Salt:


"God's creature, salt, I cast out the demon from you by the living God, + by the true God, + by the holy God, + by God who ordered you to be thrown into the water-springs by Eliseus to heal it of its barrenness. May you be a purified salt, a means of health for those who believe, a medicine for body and soul for all who make use of you. May all evil fancies of the foul fiend, his malice and cunning, be driven afar from the place where you are sprinkled. And let every unclean spirit be repulsed by Him who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen."

"Almighty, everlasting God, we humbly appeal to your mercy and goodness to bless this creature, salt, which you have given for mankind's use. May all who use it find a remedy for body, mind and soul. And may everything it touches be freed from uncleanness and any influence of the evil spirit; through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Blessing for Blessed Olive Oil (not Holy Chrism):

Priest: "Lord God Almighty, before whom the hosts of angels stand in awe, and whose heavenly service we acknowledge; may it please you to regard favorably and to bless and hallow this creature, oil, which by your power has been pressed from the juice of olives. You have ordained it for anointing the sick, so that, when they are made well, they may give thanks to you, the living and true God. Grant we pray, that those who will use this oil, which we are blessing in your name, may be delivered from all suffering, all infirmity, and all wiles of the enemy."

"God's creature, oil, I cast out the demon from you by God the Father + almighty, who made heaven and earth and sea, and all that they contain. Let the adversary's power, the devil's legions, and all Satan's attacks and machinations be dispelled and driven afar from this creature, oil."

"Let it bring health in body, mind and soul to all who use it, in the name of God. + the Father almighty, and of our Lord Jesus + Christ, His Son, and of the Holy + Spirit, the Advocate, as well as in the love of the same Jesus Christ Lord, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire."

"Let it be the means of averting any kind of adversity from man, made in your image and redeemed by the precious blood of your Son, so that he may never again suffer the sting of the ancient serpent; through Christ our Lord. Amen."

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What sort of salt and oil are we to use?

Common table salt (not the low sodium variety) and 100% pure olive oil, the least expensive "house brand" will do.

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I'm on a "salt-restricted" diet, and I have heard that since olive oil will soon become rancid, we should use mineral oil. What about that?

In the use of both Blessed Salt and Blessed Olive Oil, we are talking about the use of minute quantities of each. Both can be taken internally, while mineral oil is not intended to be ingested. The use of these spiritual items is not about the flavor or cooking potential of either of them, but of the power of almighty God. When taken internally, only a few grains (perhaps 10 or 15) of Blessed Salt and a few drops of Blessed Olive Oil deposited on an individual serving of food, or placed in the mouth, is all that it takes. If more flavor and/or cooking potential are desired, then use supplies of these items which have not been blessed.

In the case of one who is on a salt-restricted diet, he or she should be ok using tiny amounts of regular salt as recommended, but to be sure, contact your doctor first. In the event that your physician forbids the use of even minute amounts of ordinary table salt, then don't use Blessed Salt internally. You do not have to use both of these Sacramentals in combination with one another to achieve results. Either one alone will do just fine, but there is no reason not to use both of them simultaneously, either.

Regarding the possibility of becoming rancid, actually it is "vegetable oil" which can quickly spoil. The standard 34 oz bottle of 100% pure olive oil should endure for a year or so, but check the label for the recommended "sell by" date. Then, select the bottle with the longest shelf-life.

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How are Blessed Salt and Blessed Olive Oil to be used?

First and foremost, they are to be used prayerfully in Jesus' name. Our Lord told us that without Him, we can do nothing, (Cf. John 5, 15, "The Vine and the Branches") and he meant literally nothing! He also said:

MARK 16, 17: "These signs shall accompany those who believe: In my name they shall drive out demons...

JOHN 14, 14: "If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."

For simple blessings of others, just say the name of the person receiving the blessing (oneself, one's spouse and/or one's children), and add:

"I bless you in the name of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May you be healed in mind, body and soul."

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I have heard that only priests and bishops have the power to bless, so why is it being recommended that a lay person provide a blessing with these Sacramentals?

Although it is true that only such clerics can administer Sacraments, such as the Anointing of the Sick, and create Sacramentals (i.e., provide the initial blessing from the Roman Ritual) it is also true that lay people are specifically called to bless, as Scripture says, and such lay persons may administer certain Sacramentals as is described in the Catechism:

1 PET 3, 9: "Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing."

The Catechism, n. 1668: "Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man...they always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign, such as the laying on of hands, the Sign of the Cross, and/or the sprinkling of Holy Water (which recalls Baptism)."

The Catechism, n. 1669: "Sacramentals derive from the Baptismal priesthood: Every Baptized person is called to be a "blessing" and to bless. (Genesis 12, 2; Luke 6, 28; Romans 12, 14; 1 Peter 3, 9). Hence, lay people may preside at certain blessings."

A Word of Caution:

When using Blessed Olive Oil, make sure that the one receiving the blessing understands that the Blessed Olive Oil which you are using is not the oil of Holy Chrism, and that you are not administering a Sacrament, as in the Anointing of the Sick. Only a cleric may do these things.

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I have heard that the 'Lord's Prayer' and the embolism said by the priest, which follows it in the Mass, but comes before the congregation says, 'The kingdom, the power, and the glory, etc...', are the best prayers for deliverance. Is this true?

Unfortunately, many of the things which people assume are true, simply are not so. This is one of them. It almost goes without saying, that the "Lord's Prayer" is one of the most effective "general purpose" prayers available, for it praises God and asks Him for our needs. Of course one of those needs is to be free from evil spirits and their human servants. The "Lord's Prayer" and the Embolism from the Mass are perfectly good expressions of the hope and desire of people to avoid such involvement with the powers of darkness. However, there is no evidence, Scriptural or otherwise, that Jesus or anyone else, ever cast out evil spirits by using the "Lord's Prayer". He and others rebuked them and simply commanded them to leave, and they left.

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Alright then, what specific prayers should a person use when confronting the forces of evil?

The prayer of blessing is mentioned above, therefore some suggestions for simple deliverance prayer, which is once again, for use within a righteous living family, will be given with a few examples.

Evil spirits each have a name, like we do, such as "Asmodeus" from the Book of Tobit, and "Apollyon" and "Leviathan", from the Book of Revelations. Although knowing its exact name is useful in driving a demon out, it is not absolutely necessary within the family, for one can address him by what he is doing, as Jesus did:

MARK 9, 25: "Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, 'Mute and deaf spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again!'"

Various authors recommend different prayers, but there are certain prayers, when strung together, seem to make for an effective simple deliverance. In addition to the command to leave, these are: The 68th Psalm, verses one and two, the St. Michael Prayer, a covering prayer (prayer for protection), a request for infilling, the Memorare, and a closing prayer. These prayers are also useful for concluding prayer group meetings, and healing team prayer.

In the event that a proper living Christian family, the marital couple suddenly finds themselves arguing about insignificant matters, they can address their marriage, and/or one another prayerfully as follows:

"Evil Spirit of Discord, in the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you, I bind you, I silence you and I cast you out. Go immediately to the feet of Jesus. Go without manifestation or communication of any kind. Do not return or afflict anyone else along the way."

Psalm 68, 1-2: "Let the Lord arise, and Let His enemies be scattered, and let those who Hate him, flee from before His face. As smoke is driven away, drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish in the presence of God."

The St. Michael Prayer: "St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, and be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, through the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all of his evil spirits, who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."

Covering and Infilling: "Holy angels please pour the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ over us from head to foot and let it penetrate into the very marrow of our bones. Let it fill us with the virtues and graces opposite of those which we have just cast-out from our presence in Jesus' name. And let it protect us in our waking and our sleep, in our coming and going, whether at work, play or rest, and let it protect our homes, work places, families, pets, and possessions from the influence of any such evil spirits. And let it provide us with the additional strength and endurance which we need. Amen."

The Force of Mary: (The Memorare): "Remember O gracious Virgin Mary, never was it known that anyone fled to you for your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin O Virgin, my Mother. Before you I come and before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen."

Closing Prayer: "Heavenly Father, I ask these things of you, in the Name of Your Divine Son, Our Lord, Jesus, Christ, through the merits of His Most Precious Blood, and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen."

Note: In the above prayers, the command form of prayer versus the forces of evil resides in the word "let", and when said in Jesus' name, demons are required to obey such statements. The petition form of prayer is in the word "may", and when we ask in his name, Our Lord will has promised that he will do it. It is important to understand that the narrative form of these words or prayers cannot be effectively used against demonic forces.

If, within a proper living Christian family, the parents find one or more of their children beginning to evidence disobedience against their wishes, they can address this problem by driving out the Spirit of Rebellion from the respective offspring. The same will work against lying, when the Spirit of Deception is forced out.

When a Godly individual is experiencing temptation to lustful activities, he or she can rectify matters by casting out the Spirit of Lust. In this case, the Spirits of Reminiscing and Fantasy should also be driven out simultaneously. String them together, as in: "Spirits of Lust, Reminiscing and Fantasy, I rebuke you, etc..."

Since there are an enormous number of sins, temptations and situations which are possible within human lives and families, simply analyze that which is happening, and cast out the evil spirit or spirits of whatever is going on.

Important Factors Involved:

Each Catholic Charismatic family, prayerfully and Sacramentally living the will of almifghty God according to the teaching of the orthodox Roman Catholic Church, is entitled, individually and collectively, to be relatively free from demonic entanglement or influence.

Righteous living parents have powerful spiritual authority on behalf of their children. The more that parents lay their hands upon their children in prayer, the less they will have to lay their hands upon them in punishment. Each of the marital couple also has similar formibable spiritual authority on behalf of one another. Family members may bless one another daily, or even more often.

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How is a Christian family expected to live spiritually?

COLO 3, 18-21: "The Christian Family. "Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so that they may not become discouraged."

The above passage infers that authority is to be discussed and exercised reasonably. It does not mean that it is intended to give anyone license to dominate others. Neither does it provide endorsement to anyone to engage in rebellion agaisnt the reasonable authority specified by the word of God. In the event of either of these aberations, the Sacramentals and prayers intended to benefit family members will be rendered proportionately less effective.

In summation, it can be said that in order to properly use and benefit from the Sacramentals and prayers discussed herein, people must operate in the words of the Mass:

"Through Him, with Him, and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit..."

If people are unwilling to do things God's way, then the forces of evil obtain a greater lattitude in their lives and families than they otherwise would.

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Reprinted from The Catholic Charismatic Center On the World Wide Web – FAQs
With Permission – Creative Common License