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Question

Dear Father Angelo,

I am a 45 year old wife and mother. I was baptized as an adult just last month. It has been a moment of great joy. However, things changed for the worst soon after that moment: I experienced many difficulties of different kinds: health-related issues, conflicts in the extended family circle, unemployment and financial loss. I feel anxious and depressed as I have not felt in many years. I keep praying assiduously, I attend the weekly Mass except for last Sunday, when I found myself mentally exhausted, and out of energy, and I therefore missed the Mass. I still pray the Rosary, especially in its healing form. I will not miss a Mass anymore for futile reasons, I cannot wait to attend the next one.
At 45 years old, dear father, I know that life can be difficult, but this last month I feel I have been tested in such an intense way that it really makes me tremble. I am able to resist sin, except the sin of despair and lack of trust, because I feel I am being crushed by all these trials.

What is happening? Is the Lord testing me? Am I oppressed by a spiritual attack, directed on my greatest weaknesses?

Dear father, can you guide me? I thank God for my crosses, but I wonder whether or not they come from Him or from our Enemy…

Thank you so much for your time, apologize if I may have shown a lack of confidence in this very difficult moment.

Daniela


Answer

Dear Daniela,

1. I am happy with your Baptism, even though you received it at the age of 45.

I am sure that, since your encounter with Jesus Christ, you feel you have resurrected.

It could not be otherwise, especially since He himself testified to be “the resurrection and the life” (Jn 11:25).

2. Yesterday (January 13, 2019) we celebrated the baptism of Jesus.

We have heard these exact words: “And behold, while all the people were being baptized and Jesus, having also received baptism, stood in prayer, heaven opened” (Lk 3:21).

3. While I was preparing the homily, I was struck by this statement of St. Thomas:

After baptism, however, it is necessary for man to pray assiduously, in order to enter heaven.

In fact, although sins are remitted with baptism, the fomite of sin remains in us, which urges us from the inside, and there remain the world and the demons that tempt us from the outside.

St. Luke (3:21) expressly says that “Jesus, having also received baptism, was in prayer, the sky was opened”; precisely because the faithfuls need prayer after baptism” (Summa theologica, III, 39,5).

4. Regarding your problems, I can say that the enemies have been raging against you: the world and the demons.

5. You succumbed to your opponent, by failing to sanctify the Sunday.

Repent immediately, repairing the sin with sacramental confession.

6. And after that, continue to pray the Holy Rosary every day.

When you pray, you are “united with the powers of heaven“, as we heard at the end of the preface of yesterday’s liturgy.

With the power of prayer you are more powerful than all your opponents, and you can put them to flight.

7. You have received Baptism.

You cannot repeat it, but you can continually revive its grace.

Among the effects of Baptism there is also that of casting out demons and keeping them away.

St. Thomas relates what Pope Celestine had prescribed (Capitula 9): “Both children and adults who present themselves to the sacrament of regeneration, do not approach the source of life, before the unclean spirit is chased away from them by the exorcisms and breaths of the clerics.”(Summa theologica, III, 71, 2, sed contra).

He then states that the breaths indicate this expulsion.

The blessing with the imposition of the hand closes the way for the expelled one, so that he cannot return” (Ib., III, 71, 2).

It also says that “holy water is useful against the external assaults of demons” (Ib., Ad 3).

7. Today the act of breathing on the person who is being baptized has been removed.

But the demons are cast out anyway.

However, I advise you – in addition to persevering in prayer and grace – to receive some blessings to neutralize the external action of your adversaries (the demons). Also, make sure you make use of holy water to protect yourself against the external assaults of the demons.

I wish you a good journey accompanied by the powers of Heaven, I remind you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo