It’s that time of year again. The air is a bit more brisk, pumpkin spice lattes have been back at Starbucks for a while now, and, thanks to your friends’ most recent Halloween-Party Facebook albums, you can hardly login without lowering the security settings on your browser.
Yep, Halloween must be right around the corner.
Now, I’m no Scrooge when it comes to Halloween (or whatever the Halloween-equivalent of a Scrooge would be). And I didn’t write this post to lecture you beautiful ladies out there about the “cute” costumes you may be choosing to wear this month (but for a quick look at why you may want to re-think those, check out this post).
I’m writing this post because this time of year always seems to inspire curiosity about the paranormal among people. And as young Catholics, we need to realize something. Demons are real. Hell is real. Dabbling into the occult (tarot cards, séances, horoscopes, spells, psychics, etc.) is not a game. When you do things like this, you open yourself up to all sorts of evil, and often without even being fully aware of the ramifications your actions will have on your life. As one of the better films I have seen this year (The Rite) put it, “not believing in the Devil won’t protect you from him.”
If you’re looking for a movie to watch this Halloween, I really recommend The Rite. The critics didn’t quite get it—they thought it was supposed to be a typical horror film. And while it definitely scared me, it was more about a man coming to believe in the reality of evil, and through that journey, ultimately coming to believe in the power of God. Of course, it goes without saying, this is not a film you want the little kids watching with you
When it comes down to it, yes—demonic possession is real. Exorcisms happen (and praise God for that!). But we’re missing the point if our discussion of the Devil ends there. As scary as demonic possession is, we shouldn’t worry about it an iota as much as we ought to worry about demonic temptation, which happens to us on a daily basis, each time we are tempted to sin.
God is infinitely more powerful than the Devil. Demons flee at the name of Jesus. But when we commit mortal sin, we knowingly choose to reject God. And when we’ve done that, we’ve knowingly chosen Hell. Thankfully, our merciful God is always ready to forgive us in the sacrament of Reconciliation (which, FYI, is more powerful than an exorcism!).
Still, be careful of the kinds of things you are inviting into your life this time of year.
…And don’t forget to go to mass on Tuesday! All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation
“Be vigilant and watchful. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for one to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith”
-1 Peter 5:8-9