By Fr. George Calciu
And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Mt: 8:29)
Because the demon is a fallen angel, it is very difficult to be overcome by means of our intelligence and even by our (weak) faith and repentance. A demon possesses “intelligence” over us and greater power (to deceive) as it understands and sees things more clearly than us.
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have received from our Savior Jesus Christ, a weapon which the devil flees from. The prayer of St Basil (the Great) was so powerful that when the saint began to pray, all demons fled. God granted St. Basil this extraordinary power which He can also entrust to us – ordinary believers. Strive towards a deeper prayer, perhaps not one that would move “mountains”, but at least one that will clean us from sins and keep demons away. The way of fasting is also the way of purifying the flesh making it more transparent, for a gluttonous body is impenetrable to the (Holy) Spirit. The Spirit of God does not abide in a satisfied (fatty) flesh. For the fast that thins the flesh will make it hungry for the Word of God and, we’ll better understand His commandments and receive power to overcome the devil. However, the devil is not (always) defeated by everyone.
I have my own experience with this. Some years ago I had encountered a young (American) man possessed by an evil spirit. He was not acting evil; meaning by throwing himself down or by other frightful acts, but he had a total distrust in people. He feared God and the church but he was in much distress. When I was reading the prayers (exorcisms) of St. Basil over him, he was seized by a great tremor (fear). Perhaps – in those moments – his thoughts were in so much distress that he was responding by such inhuman/weird sounds. The demon (inside him) never attacked me; the man didn’t try to hit me or to escape from under the Epitrachelion. But he passed through these “states” (crises) which were from the demon that dwelt in him, and until he opened his soul to confession, he was not freed. When he falls again in temptation, he returns to me, and I pray over him these prayers (of St Basil). If the devil takes possession over his heart, he manifests in the (weird) way I’d mentioned above, but if not, then he’s only overcome by evil thoughts.
With time, the prayers began to work, but many temptations also aroused: he fights all sorts of images, distrustful thoughts that God had no power over him and that the prayers I read have not the same power as those of St Basil, al sorts of doubts to further distance him from the influence of prayer. But if you have a powerful prayer and have also fasted, know that the devil flees.
Our Lord Jesus Christ works in those who believe and received God’s grace through the sacrament of the priesthood, regardless of their virtues or sinfulness. Some are attracted to the intellect of the priest, others by the power of his prayers, while others by his counsel. There is always something that draws you to the priest and through this God grants him power. This is the Grace that was given to him by the “laying of hands” by which he can “bound all that can be bound on earth and absolve all that can be absolved” according to the Gospel. Amen.
Source: "To Serve Christ Means Suffering"