Spiritual Warriors Have a Field Manual in ‘Slaying Dragons’
New book addresses ‘What Exorcists See and What We Should Know.’
What Exorcists See and What We Should Know
By Charles D. Fraune
Retreat Box Press, 2019
199 pages; $16
To order: amazon.com or theretreatbox.com/collections/books
In these times when spiritual warfare is increasingly out in the open, it’s critical to follow St. Paul’s advice to the Ephesians about putting on the armor of God. We’ve got to know how to be good Christian soldiers in the spiritual battle. It is vitally important to know something about the enemy, and especially realizing and using all the spiritual weapons with which Our Lord has equipped us.
In his revised second edition of Slaying Dragons, subtitled What Exorcists See and What We Should Know, Charles D. Fraune deals with both parts by presenting the expertise of 10 exorcists, led by Fathers Chad Ripperger, Gabriele Amorth, Jose Antonio Fortea and Gary Thomas, plus a priest and layman in deliverance ministry. He also has insights and revelations from, among others, Sts. Alphonsus Ligouri, Thomas Aquinas, Louis de Montfort and Teresa of Avila.
In other words, the knowledge, insights, advice and guidance are coming directly from the experts, along with references to Church teaching and Tradition, some of which is sadly forgotten today by too many of the populace, such as the use of holy water, blessed salt and the foremost prayers to use to protect against diabolical influence: the Rosary and the Hail Mary, since, as the author explains, “Our Lady has appeared many times to saints in order to convince them of the power of just one Hail Mary.”
Naturally, as Fraune details the armor, or different layers of protection we need in this battle, and the spiritual armament we have ready for our use to be victorious, he makes it clear that the very first lines of defense are the sacraments. That’s why confession and Communion are all important, with the great graces they bring.
Through the expertise of exorcists, saints and the Church, Fraune reveals the motivation and tactics of demons, how they fell, how they attack, beginning with Eve and then Adam, and the stages of diabolical influence, sin and the influence of Satan, before getting into “gateway” sins and the ways to resist diabolical influence and protect one’s spiritual life.
Because these revelations and directions come through the combined knowledge and experience of veteran exorcists and the saints, spiritual warriors have in this book a field manual of essential winning defenses, all written in a clear and readable style.
Naturally, some stories of possessions and diabolical influences illustrate a problem and its effective cure, but only briefly. The counterattack, so to speak, gets the spotlight, along with some warnings and ways to prevent the devil from finding a way into our lives in the first place.
At the same time, readers learn that, in most cases, God blocks the demons from doing what they want to do. Rare are the cases of possession. Fraune stresses, “Satan and the demons are completely under Our Lord’s control. Everything they do is, therefore, what is permitted by Him, even though all of these rebellious acts are contrary to His desire for them. The actions of the demons fall under the permissive will of God. God permits what is beneficial for us spiritually and what can be used by us advantageously.” Remember, God can always bring good out of the worst evil.
Authoritative insights tell us about the power of those on our side.
“Exorcists have learned through experience … that Our Lady is the most powerful instrument against the diabolic. When Our Lady shows up during an exorcism, the possession is over.”
She has, as Father Ripperger puts it, “perfect coercive power over demons. She has no need to discuss the matter with the demon, or request that they leave; if Our Lady comes … she literally doesn’t have to say a thing. That’s how powerful she is.”
We’re reminded there is the army of saints behind us, along with our very special protector, our guardian angel. St. Thomas Aquinas assures that our guardian angel is more powerful than the devil. These guardian angels “are both interested in and capable of offering us extraordinary helps which are the exact opposite of that which the demon seeks to do. Our guardian angels introduce pious thoughts into our minds and ward off demonic suggestions. They can also reveal what is the best course for us to take in a certain situation,” and much more, readers learn.
Reminders — so often forgotten by even the most well-meaning faithful — are plentiful, such as invoking the name of Jesus to gain authority over demons harassing us by repelling and dispersing them. Another defense is invoking Jesus’ “Most Precious Blood.” And we also learn why Father Ripperger recommends praying to Our Lady under the title of “Our Lady of Sorrows.”
Then there are patron saints. The author mentions St. Joseph as the “Terror of Demons,” but only one sentence on this great saint and this essential title of this most powerful of all saints, right after Our Lady, is not nearly adequate.
There are revelations about “gateway” sins to avoid and why confession is so necessary. Yet through all this discussion, it’s comforting to know that we “have nothing to fear if we stay close to Our Lord. ... Fidelity to Christ and recourse to the aids He gives us in the Sacraments and sacramentals is sufficient to protect us,” writes Fraune in a chapter summary. Plus, being strong in humility and faith is key:
“Faith and a serious focus on God are sufficient to protect us against possession and serious diabolical influence.”
“Father Amorth says, ‘The demon keeps his distance from the one who nurtures his faith, who frequents the sacraments, and who wishes to live devoutly.’”
As the author summarizes in one chapter, “As long as we remain in a state of grace, we will be protected by Our Lord. This is His promise.”