Understand what oppression and diabolical possession is
The great truth is that we all live in a spiritual reality, which also includes the existence of an evil being, whose aim is to kill, steal and destroy (cf. Jn 10:10). The Gospels themselves clearly show us the action of this being that we call the devil, demon or satan. The Word of God also confirms to us that Jesus “was manifested to destroy the works of the devil” (IJo 3,8).
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We can thus say that, in a way, the devil and his demons can directly interfere with us, the children of God, because it is also the very Word of God that reveals to us: once the “great dragon” (cf. Ap 12,3), the ancient serpent, which is called devil and satan (cf. Ap 12,9) was overcome in Heaven, by Michael and his angels, this same dragon was expelled from Heaven and began to fight all those who observe the commandments of God and keep the testimony of Jesus (cf. Rev. 12:17).
We know, for this reason, that each of us is fighting this battle on this earth; and, within this spiritual battle, there are some realities where the devil can and wants to directly interfere with us in a more direct way, which sometimes brings certain confusions of understanding to the people of God, of what is really happening. One of the questions they always ask is, “What is the difference between diabolical oppression and diabolical possession?
Once we understand that direct action by the evil one is possible among us, we will proceed to the answer.
I can say that this expression “diabolical oppression” is a term that, in general, is used in a more general way, without bringing in itself a specific definition of a particular action of the devil. As I described in more detail in my book ‘Free from All Evil – Unmasking the Enemy’ , this term is not commonly used within what we classify as the demon’s extraordinary actions (infestation, obsession, vexation and possession), not even the which we classify as the demon’s ordinary action, which is temptation. For this reason, the term is taken as generic, in the sense that it points to a certain action of evil, which may be influencing different realities of our life in a different way.
The very definition of the word “oppression” in the dictionary already indicates a little more of the particulars that we can classify as “diabolic oppression”:
– State, condition of who or what is oppressed;
– Unpleasant feeling of shortness of breath, suffocation;
– Bondage imposed by force or authority, yoke;
– Marked decrease in vigor, energy, dejection.
In Latin, the word means subjection, violence and strength.
We understand, then, that we can use this expression when we are, in some way, being oppressed by the devil, by a strong temptation, by bad desires or feelings that come from an evil force. In particular, I like to use this term in prayer calls, to deal with any type of action by the devil, which does not indicate one of his extraordinary actions.
It is the reality in which the devil, when possessing a person, begins to have absolute dominion over his body, the domain of his movements, speech and actions in general.
This type of action is called the demon’s extraordinary action, because it is something very difficult and rare to happen to a person, but it is not impossible! A person who suffers from this reality is practically exempt from responsibility for his actions, during the period when the devil has him under his power.
Diabolic possession has several signs that need to be well evaluated and discerned, in order to verify that it is a real diabolic possession. The Roman Ritual (Rite of Exorcism) points to four realities that can help us in discernment, but which do not definitively determine a real diabolical possession.
Speaking or understanding unknown languages, revealing things hidden or distant, physical strength beyond the natural and aversion to the Sacred. All these realities, added to other types of phenomena that can happen, help us to have a more complete discernment of the reality in which the person is.
The Roman Ritual also reinforces the need for, in some cases, people to resort, together with Exorcism or Liberation Prayers, to the help of “medical and psychiatric science, who have the sensitivity of spiritual realities” (Roman Ritual – Prem. 17). So it is clear that there is a clear distinction between what we call diabolical oppression and what is diabolical possession.