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Good morning, Father Angelo!

I had just finished reading your answer published today about demonic possession, when a new question arose in my mind: I read somewhere that St. Mariam Baouardy (also known as Mary of Jesus Crucified) was once possessed —in a positive way, of course— by an angel (I can’t remember if it was her guardian angel specifically) and that apparently this was a very unique mystic phenomenon, even among the Saints.

Could you please talk about it?

I wish you a fruitful celebration of the Holy Mysteries of Salvation, operated by Our Lord Jesus, and I ask you to recommend me to Him during the celebration of the Holy Mass! (I will return the favor in the measure I am able to, since I am not as Holy as you are).

A warm greeting,



Dear Roberto,

1. Generally speaking, we refer to possession in its pejorative sense, i.e. in possession by demons.

Conversely, when we are talking about the opposite phenomenon, i.e. possession by God, or by angels, we refer to it as ecstasy. 

2. There is a dramatic difference between these two realities.

In the case of demonic possession, the demon can never act directly on the person’s will.

The demon takes control of the host mind, preventing the senses from communicating with it. This can induce the possessed person to commit sins, such as cursing the name of God, nevertheless the person is absolutely not guilty of these sins, being just a vehicle for the demon to act.

Saint Thomas says: “This is evident from the fact that man does not resist that which moves him to sin, except by his reason; the use of which the devil is able to impede altogether, by moving the imagination and the sensitive appetite; as is the case with one who is possessed. But then, the reason being thus fettered, whatever man may do, it is not imputed to him as a sin” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, 80, 3).

If, on the other hand, reason is not completely impeded, the possessed person can then resist the demonic oppression.

3. Things are different when it comes to ecstasy.

Father Meynard, a French Dominican who authored two volumes about ascetic and mystic theology, writes: “We believe with Saint Thomas and many other authors that the ecstatic union does not enchain freedom, therefore removing merit.

The intellect and the will are attracted by a grace that imposes itself, nevertheless, if we consider the final state towards which the soul tends in the state of ecstasy, we have to recognize that there is a free cooperation of these faculties, and that divine action, rather than destroying freedom, perfects it.

The soul is freed then of its dependence on the exterior senses, and sometimes on the interior senses as well, at least to some extent.

There is, after all, a big difference between the prophetic sleep of ecstasy and the natural sleep: during natural sleep we lose the use of reason, and consequently freedom and merit; on the other end, in the prophetic sleep of ecstasy the soul remains free, neither the grace which attracts it, nor the light that illuminates it take away from the soul the necessary cooperation, and therefore the merit.

After all, it is not likely that God would want to take away from a soul that has elevated itself to such a perfect union, the merit connected with all the acts sanctified by divine charity” (A. Meynard, Traité de la vie intérieure ou petite somme de la théologie ascétique et mystique, vol. I).

I thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify this concept.

I wish you well, I will gladly recommend you to the Lord in the Holy Mass and I bless you.

Father Angelo