CHRISTIANS are caught in a raging battle between the forces of heaven and hell, but should take comfort in the fact that the devil can be defeated in the company of the holy and blessed, a Thomasian exorcist says.

Fr. Jose Francisco Syquia, exorcist of the Archdiocese of Manila, explains in his new book, Exorcist: Spiritual Battle Lines, how the Catholic faithful can fight the battle versus evil with the help of the Virgin Mary and saints. The book is a follow-up to the title Exorcist: A Spiritual Journey, which was published last year.

In the introduction, Syquia says the book is “not only about [the] evil and demonic, but [also] about God and His infinite and tender love for the humankind.”

The 420-page book also tackles the need for the purification of the Catholic faith and deepening one’s relationship with God as well as the Blessed Mother, the saints, and angels.

The book, which has 15 chapters, also contains real-life accounts of demonic encounters of exorcists in the Vatican and Italy.

The first three chapters underscore the importance of the Virgin Mary as the Mother of humankind and how she keeps people from evil. “My relationship with Mama Mary developed due to the countless times that she intervened on my behalf,” Syquia says in the book. “In fact, I ascribe to her motherly intercession the blessing that my loved ones and I are now always protected from serious retaliations from the evil one.”

Syquia considers Mary as “God’s most effective weapon against the devil” as she is involved in the history of salvation and the wars for souls. The narrations of St. Alphonsus Liguori about the intercession of the Blessed Mother in the lives of many people who have experienced the attacks of hell are also cited in the book.

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“The narratives show how the devil can appear in human form to deceive us. [These] show us the importance of having a devotion to Mama Mary and how the devil waits for us to lessen this devotion before making his attack,” Syquia said.

In the fourth chapter, Syquia cites the importance of the Rosary as an effective weapon to ward off evil, recalling an anecdote on how St. Dominic de Guzman relieved a man of his possession using the Rosary.

The spiritual battle

The fifth chapter underlines that paganism, the religion of the Roman Empire during the early years of the Church, was the “instrument used by Satan to try and destroy the Christian faith.”

Syquia defines paganism or animism as a “belief system which includes the belief in the existence of many gods and that through occult practices, one may be able to manipulate these gods for the benefit of man.”

In the next three chapters, Syquia talks about how the saints of the early Church dealt with paganism and their encounters with demons.

Example of extraordinary attacks by evil beings are “love curses” or “gayuma.”

“It is important to note that this type of curse can cause mental illness in the victim. It is important to remember that if one is in the state of grace and has a real intimacy with God, no curse can be effective against the person,” Syquia says.

Syquia talks about angels in Chapter 11 as “very powerful heavenly allies in the spiritual war now raging on this earth for souls.” The erstwhile war in heaven, in which the fallen angels were defeated, has been “brought down to our planet.”

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The last chapter focuses on heaven, the reward for righteous people who fought in the battle.

“In today’s modern world, trying to reach heaven, our true destination in life and the only real reason why are on this earth, can be a real challenge,” Syquia said. “Of course, the greatest experience will be that of meeting God face-to-face! It is an experience beyond words or imaginations.”

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