OK, I have a question I’d like to ask in light of some personal experiences that is probably going to leave some readers thinking that I’ve finally lost my last shred of sanity. 🙂 Nevertheless, I’m quite curious to hear others’ thoughts on this:
What do you think about the concept of spiritual attacks from the devil or demons or whatever it is that exists on the “other” side?
I had my first brush with this concept when I was a teenager and played around with some occult stuff, none of which I took seriously (I elaborate more on some of those experiences here). Yet almost immediately after that it was like a black cloud moved in over my life. I came into contact with people and experiences that could only be described as, well, evil. At the time I thought I was just having an incredibly bad run of luck, and perhaps that’s the case, but there was an unusual darkness to it all that makes me wonder, especially now that I believe that there is more to life than the material world, if it was not something more than just bad luck.
It wasn’t until recently that I was reminded of the concept of spiritual attacks again. We were at dinner with some devout Protestant friends of ours who came to faith after some rebellious years, and both of them commented that they felt very “attacked” right before and after they made their official proclamations of faith. They described having horrible, vivid nightmares and experiencing verbal (and in one case physical) attacks from people in their lives who had never showed that type of behavior before.
I expected my husband to be really skeptical of their stories, but he actually chimed in that he’s heard similar stories from enough friends over the years that he thinks there might be something to it.
So that brings us to Holy Thursday of this year. We had just moved into the new house and I was busy dealing with that and getting ready for Easter Vigil. As the day wore on I started feeling worse and worse, and I eventually fell into this horrible, angry mood that is very uncharacteristic for me. There was nothing in particular that set it off. I just felt so low and discouraged and hopeless — for no particular reason at all. It was when I heard myself mutter that I was so angry and frustrated that I should just forget about going to Easter Vigil that I thought, “What on earth is going on here?” It was like I was mentally under siege.
I prayed for St. Monica‘s intercession, ate a good meal and went to bed early and the whole thing ended as suddenly as it had started. I have bad days and bad moods like everyone else, but I almost never experience that level of depressed despair that I fell into that day. I think that it was most likely just a really bad mood brought on by the stress of moving with two little kids and company in town, but who knows. If the devil exists (which I firmly believe he does), I suppose it’s not that unlikely that he’d want to steer someone away from faith as much as possible.
So I’m interested to hear what you all think: do you believe in (or have you experienced) spiritual attacks? If so, do you think they’re rare or something that can and does happen regularly to people who dabble in the occult, are about to turn towards God, etc.?