Monday, February 1, 2010

Mental Ailments and Charismatic Retreats

477_Immaculate_Heart_of_Mary_Painting_--_August_22,_2006__edited-1Mental ailments among the participants in charismatic retreats which spread its roots since the 1970s have caused the society to view such retreats with fear and suspicion. ‘If you are charismatic you will go ‘crazy’’was a common saying  in those days. Why should the participants of a charismatic retreat go mad when the retreat per se is a divine work? Are these disturbances real mental disorders? Years back while participating in a retreat I heard the preacher thinking loudly at his perplexity at the phenomenon of people getting mentally ill or disturbed during retreat.

I would say that there exists a diabolic work to destroy renewal retreats and retreat centres. Thousands of people who have participated in charismatic retreats have suffered mental illnesses. Many of them have undergone treatment for the same as well. When people get mentally disturbed during retreats, in the absence of a proper diagnosis, they are branded as mental disorders and treated for the same. Several retreat centres have such ‘cells’ for rehabilitating mental patients. Once a youth while participating in a retreat turned violent. He was forcefully put in a cell and administered medicine. Later,his family members treated him in a hospital. He escaped from that place and while working elsewhere chanced to know of Spirit in Jesus and came to a retreat. He was cleansed by the Word of God, obtained a good counselling and went back quite normal. However, within a month he went to the old retreat centre for retreat and again became violent. It took months of treatment for him to return to the normal state. This happens because of different perceptions of the same problem by different preachers.

On the basis of the experience we have in the past few years we do not refer a person who exhibits mental disturbances to medical treatment immediately. First we pray for him incessantly for a few days and medical reference will be made only when he does not return to normality even after that. Every mental disorder need not be diabolic or mental disease as such. I know a person who was terminated from military service 28 years ago on grounds of mental disease. Ever since he has been under medical treatment which not only did not do any good but made matters worse. One year ago he was brought for a retreat at our retreat centre. He was totally out of senses. His wife was with him. While talking about him he made a sprint to escape. Spirit in Jesus Team members followed and caught hold of him. I told his wife of our inconvenience to admit him into the group of 500- odd people who had come for the retreat. I asked her to take him away. With tearful eyes she beseeched me not to turn him away since that (retreat) was her last hope. Empathizing with her plight I permitted him into the retreat. To prevent his escape he was put within an enclosure made of desks and a few Team members as guard. The person who could not sleep at all in the past very many days could get some sleep during the retreat. He was quite tranquil during the retreat days. Since he has been ailing and under medication in the last 28 years I advised him to consult an expert psychiatrist and accordingly he did so. He returned home completely healed and in his own senses. It required both prayer and medication to heal that 28 year-old ailment.

Mental disorders are caused by swelling of human brain tissues. There is nothing wrong in setting right those medically incurable disorders with prayer and those which cannot be healed only through prayer with medicine. I have witnessed innumerable instances of persons under medication for years getting healed with prayer. In a group of 500 participants in a retreat at least a 100 will have mental ailment of some sort or the other. I don’t claim that all or none has been healed, but many have been healed.

Why do people become mentally restive while in a retreat? Evil spirits behind this restlessness is a fact. Why do evil spirits come out during prayer? The Bible gives an answer for that. All the evil spirits who have encountered Jesus have recognized Him. Since He is Son of God no one can hide away from Him. In the New Testament we see Jesus giving authority to His disciples. “Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness” (Mat 10:1).Since evil spirits are behind every disease and sickness, Jesus commanded to cast out evil spirits and to cure every disease and sickness. Jesus gave authority to his disciples over demons as well. “Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal” (Lk 9:1).Evil spirits or unclean spirits are the lost souls who are under the dominion of the devil. Demons are the fallen angels. Though evil spirits and demons belong to two different categories they are generally known as devils or diabolic forces. Since evil spirits behave like devils they are also sometimes known as devils.

In the ministry of the Apostles of Jesus we see evil spirits manifested (Lk 10:17). In Acts 8:6-8 evil spirits come out in a ministry of Philip and in Acts 16:16 we read St Paul casting out evil spirits from a slave girl. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus that evil spirits are cast out and subdued. Jesus himself has said that: “it is by the spirit of God that I cast out demons” (Mt 12:28).When the Word of God is spoken during retreats the presence of Jesus ushers in; similarly, during the prayer of Anointing the presence of the Holy Spirit also comes in. It is then impossible for the evil spirits dwelling in people to remain hidden. They come out; manifest. When an evil spirit manifests in an individual his whole being - conscious mind and body - would be under the control of the evil spirit. Whatever he does or utters are not borne out of his conscious mind. An evil spirit does not like to reveal its identity; all its utterances will be lies. And it will be under the hegemony of Satan, the ancient serpent. It requires intense prayer for the revealing of an evil spirit which manifests in a violent form in the possessed person. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to cast out an evil spirit for which intense and incessant prayer is a must. Since 1997 we the Spirit in Jesus ministry have not been casting out evil spirits, but make them surrender in the name of Jesus. Hours long prayer makes them surrender and accept Jesus as their Saviour. Intervention of Holy Virgin Mary is the only recourse for crushing the hegemony of the ancient serpent over the evil spirit; through the incessant recitation of the 153 beads of the Holy Rosary the power of Satan is wiped out and the slave-soul is freed. Since the evil soul is a human soul it has to be absolved of its sin in the name of Jesus and sanctified by the blood of Christ. Then it ushers into eternal salvation, freeing the possessed person in the process. This is the deliverance service, the way to salvation. Without the completion of this service, if the manifestation of the evil spirit is trivialized as a psychological phenomenon, we foreclose the salvation of souls.

The rich man in Hell makes two entreaties to Abraham (Lk: 16:19-31).The first is: send Lazarus with succour to him; and second, to send him to his brothers to forewarn them about this place of retribution. To the second, Abraham answered that they may listen to Moses and the prophets i.e., The Word of God. Then Abraham told him that they would not be convinced even if someone who has risen from the dead had gone to them.

A major theme of a conference of psychiatrists held in Switzerland a few years back was the voices of the dead heard by the mental patients. In fact this is a major problem of the mentally ailing people. They hear voices…of persons long dead from their families and of others. There are around us numerous mentally ailing persons for whom known medications are ineffective. Psychiatry could not recognize this as voices of the dead. In fact it is voices of the dead. Why does it happen at all? Truly the dead in bondage are trying to say something. That is why many are hearing the voices of the dead.

The roots of the present generation lie in the by-gone generations. The genealogies provided in the Old and New Testaments are proofs of this. Even though Jesus is not born of man His genealogy is given both by St Mathew and St Luke. Even generations after the passing of forefathers our relations with them do not cease. Medical science acknowledges the existence of hereditary diseases. Asthma, rheumatism, mental ailments and many others belong to this category. Medical science tells us about the hereditary diseases passed on to us through genes and chromosomes.

When a child is formed as a foetus in the womb of a woman the hegemony of generation is transmitted through genes to its blood and unconscious mind. The influence of generations abides in human body and its members through blood. We know that our own members of the body lead us to commit certain sins. If it may be the lust in his eyes that lead one person to sin, it may be the tongue for another. If it is one’s hand, it may be sexual organ for another that causes them to sin. We may recognize that some of our own members of the body are slaves of sin. Alcoholism is a passion of the blood; and adultery, of either the mind or the body.

Jesus said: “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”(Mk 7:20-23). A person commits sin since these sins abide within him, his heart. Why does the son of a person who was not an adulterer become a fornicator? Why does the son of a teetotaller become a drunkard? Conversely, why does the son of a drunkard become a teetotaller? These are not incidental. The sins influencing the four children of the same parents would be different. The Psalmist says: “Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.”(Psalm 51:5). In fact this is a pitiable state of every human being. It is through genes that sins are transmitted from ancestors to descendents, but differently among each one of them.

When Jesus teaches that sins abide in the heart of a person, St Paul the Apostle tells that they abide in the body. “But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells with me. For I know that nothing good dwells with me, that is in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand”(Rom 7:17-21). The Apostle teaches that sin abides in the body. It abides in the blood and in the members of the body.

Since sin is merely a deed how could that, which abides in me make me commit sin? Sin does not have a life of its own. The words that proceed from my tongue are its deeds. Here the tongue is the doer and the words are the deeds. The pen with which I write is an inanimate object. But when I use my hands to write, letters appear. It was my hands that made the pen do the work of writing. Sin is inanimate in itself. It requires a human body to act. The human body requires an agent to activate sin. Sin is a work of the Devil. “Everyone who commits sin is a child of the Devil” (1Jn 3:8) Sin is inanimate and the Devil is a living spirit. When it influences sin, the latter comes to life.

There is the influence of sin in the blood of the forefathers which came to me through the genes. There is sin in the blood and heart of a sinner. It is transmitted into his offspring. Subsequently parents die in sin. Since they die in sin and the blood of the children contains an element of sin the souls of parents can influence their children. Since the souls of sinners do not usher into salvation it wanders through dry lands and finally they influence and possess those born of their blood as their rightful due. This makes the influenced and the possessed slaves of sin. In fact, it is the evil spirits and not the devils which trick men to sin. And these evil spirits are the evil souls of the dead.

Among the evil spirits which influence the mind and body there are some which wish to be saved while some do not. Spirits can influence everybody in this world; but they cannot possess all. It is the violation of the First Commandment by a person and his generations that causes the evil spirits to possess them. Possession in the body and heart makes one susceptible to hear their voices. Influence on the mind and brain causes them to exert control over the mind. Influence on the blood and members of the body leads to passions. Do not eat the sacrificial offerings to idols, is God’s Commandment (1 Cr 10:28).However, it will be ruinous if a Christian eats it in the name of religious harmony and love towards one’s neighbor. Through these objects evil spirits enter and establish hegemony over a person. During prayer services these spirits appear and behave like mental patients .Some years ago a family of husband and wife as members of another religion participated in our retreat. Secretly, without the knowledge of anyone, they came to participate in it. On the last day the wife became very agitated and started behaving like a mental patient. Even when the retreat was over they were not ready to go back. The husband said that if they went back home in that condition they would be killed. ‘You must pray’ they insisted. On the third day the woman became free. During all this time the woman vomited many times. At the same time she was murmuring about all the sacrificial food offered to idols that she had taken and about all the gods of this world that had taken possession of her. We prayed for all those conditions. We became aware of the possession she was under and of the great mercy that the Lord had shown her, though she was of a different religion. The Lord healed her completely. From that time through many other situations we became more aware of the importance of foods offered to idols. I do not say that every mental derangement is the result of possession by evil spirit. I have seen individuals behaving like a possessed one, in order to get attention or love from others. This can happen either because of some wounds or subjugation of the mind. Once during a retreat a young man became violent and some people began to pray for him as though he had been possessed by the evil spirit. Even after a long time he was not free. At that time Sr.Catherine Mariam came in to that room. Immediately she said that there were no evil spirits in him. Then she told him: ‘there is no evil spirit in you, get up.’ He immediately sat up as a normal person. It was the sudden feeling of love towards a girl that made him act like a possessed one. Through good counselling he became free. I have seen many persons who behaved like possessed ones become normal when Sr Catherine Mariam tells them that they are not possessed and that they are free. I have also seen persons who act like the possessed saying they are possessed by living persons. Prayer and the Word with authority and power make these persons free. There are persons who lose sleep during the days of retreat. When they get good sleep they become free.

Violation of the First Commandment, eating foods offered to idols, and keeping forbidden objects can make a person unsound in mind. The forbidden objects that are kept at retreat centres are occasions for Satan to attack human beings. We must recognize the disorientations we experience during prayer services; we must bind and chase out those that are evil spirits. If they are mere mental disorientations, they can be healed through good counselling and prayer of binding. Constant praying of the Rosary and intercessory prayer for the souls will help to save many souls. When evil spirits appear, instead of preventing the saving of souls by interpreting them as mental derangements, free these souls by praying for them. We shall thus make practical what Jesus and the Apostles taught.

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