In the past few weeks, I have talked with several people who believe, for one reason or another, that a curse has been placed on them. In one case, a person was in an argument with someone involved in the occult, and the occultist explicitly told him that a curse was coming. In another case, an odd interaction with a neighbor along with some occult-looking material left on the porch, led another to this conclusion. Finally, in another case, a good catholic woman who had been divorced by her husband experienced a strange string of sicknesses and problems; her daughter told her that the husband's new wife had a small altar in their home with bizarre materials on it and had a picture of this poor woman in the middle.
The vast majority of people reading this will laugh it off, and to be honest, growing up in America, I can hardly blame them. Magic is something we only see on television and is not a normal part of life. That being said, it is a growing part of American culture. The paranormal industry is growing exponentially, and many esoteric practices from other cultures are coming here each day. Just look at the news and see the group of witches trying to curse our president.
The fact of the matter is that curses are real, and while I would never want a serious Christian to live in fear, it is important that we recognize there are people out there who willingly cooperate with the world of evil and maliciously target others for vengeance or strategy. This is the reason that I decided to poll several exorcists who are friends and write these possible steps to take if you think you might be a victim of sorcery.
1. Take a deep breath and remember that God is completely and totally in control. Nothing can happen to you without God's permission. NOTHING. Even if someone targeted you, nothing can happen without God's permission.
2. Remember there are no emergencies with the devil. This is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. It can be scary dealing with extraordinary evil; but once again, God is in control and we do not need to speed his hand. This means you do not need to track an exorcist down in the middle of the night and demand that he come over immediately.
3. Evaluate our vulnerabilities. In most cases if we are being affected by a curse, it is because there is a chink in our armor, so to speak. Exorcists often talk about Christians having a "hedge of grace" surrounding them and protecting them. If we are vulnerable to the effects of curses, it is often because there is a problem in our relationship with the Lord. Are we persisting in serious sin? Have we left the church or the sacraments? Have we committed an injustice that has not been remedied? Or have we become lukewarm in our relationship to God? All of these could be the door we left open to the evil one.
4. Evaluate any possible implicit permission. In order for evil to attack us extraordinarily, there must be some permission given by someone. What can be tricky about this is that the permission is often implicit. So if you believe you are the victim of a curse, what are the circumstances surrounding it? Did someone give you something? Did you accept something into your home? Did you allow someone to move in or have you begun a new relationship with someone who is not a faithful Christian? Curses often involve the use of a Fortuna or a cursed object. It doesn't have to be something explicitly occult in nature. I was once handed a slip of paper that had been cursed. It could be as simple as that.
5. Intentionally deal with vulnerabilities and implicit permission. Once we have taken inventory of why we are being affected by a curse, we need to deal with it. That usually means getting right with the Lord and repenting of wrong doing and taking care of any implicit permission we may have given. I know of a woman who had accepted a statue from a man at her work who was infatuated with her. The man had cursed the statue, and she needed to destroy it and get it our of her house.
6. Ask God to break the curse and free you from all evil. A simple formula for that prayer could be: "Lord Jesus, I repent of my sin and any part I had in accepting or cooperating with this evil. I ask you now to break this curse and break any tie the world of evil has over me. I forgive anyone who has cooperated with evil to perpetrate this against me. Amen." You can put it in your own words or use another prayer, but this is a basic formula.
7. Practice a rigorous life of faith and refuse to be mastered by evil. You can actually start this at the beginning. No need to wait until step seven.
Is this an over simplification? Possibly. If these things do not help you, it may be time to contact an expert from your diocese who can help.
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization at