What an Exorcist Told Me About the Power of God in a Post-Roe World
Msgr. John Esseff offers a heartfelt message: Respond by truly becoming the body of Christ.
It seemed impossible after so many years,but last week, it happened; Roe v Wade was overturned. The Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court decision is a stunning day in U.S. history, ending nearly 50 years of nationwide legalized abortion.
One side is ecstatic, thrilled that more babies will live. The other side is enraged that babies will live. Both sides are assembling their battle plans now since the fight for life is not over. Decisions on abortion go back to the states, with some doubling down and others outlawing it. Pro-lifers are digging deeper on how to fight abortion, supporting clinics and organizations that help pregnant women and continuing to pray for the unborn. I also pray that Catholic leaders will get out in front more often, defending the unborn and leaving no question that the Church defends life at all stages.
For insight and inspiration for these times, I turned to Msgr. John Esseff. At 94 years old, he’s possibility the oldest living exorcist and still gives retreats to seminarians and priests, officiates at Mass and hold healing services. He has been a priest in the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for 69 years and an exorcist for 45, was a spiritual director of Mother Teresa’s and met Padre Pio, who became a spiritual father to him.
I particularly wanted his insights because abortion is pure evil. I also wanted him to call out Church leaders to speak boldly for the unborn. On this day, he expressed his thoughts and only later shared with me that he was recovering from a broken leg. So let us pray for his recovery. He still wanted to speak about our call to be the body of Christ in response to any backlash from pro-abortion activists or failures from our leaders to speak out.
If you will continue to preach and teach what the Church preaches and teaches, it will be so powerful. First, we have to teach the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — the Trinity. Once you recognize that we in the Church are the body of Christ, that truth is a truth, we are not just ourselves, we are his body. If you want to stand up in front of the crowd and say who you are, ‘I am Christ in the world,’ it will be so powerful.
In the beginning, the apostles didn’t care about being powerful; they cared about praying and spreading the Gospel. They were not afraid to speak the truth and they were not afraid to be poor. Some of our leaders corrupted our Church because they cared more about the world than serving God.
God is showing us in the first pages of Genesis that he so loved the world. … I can’t being to understand his love for us as humans. Psalm 8 says how that he loves this world that we are born into.
God so loved us that he placed us in this magnificent creation and sent his only begotten Son to be born of a woman, Mary. He revealed it to the world, which is now 7 billion, but revealed it to Mary first. She learned there is a three-person God; I am your Father; you are going to be the mother of my Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. Wow! It’s the unimaginable love. Then this same God suffers and dies and rises and overcomes those three horrible enemies of ours: sin, Satan and death itself. Then he goes back to heaven. On Pentecost, he transforms those apostles into himself. They become his body and go out and baptize by the power and spirit. We then become the body of Christ.
If that body would become healthy, there would not be so much division. We have so much mud and soot in the Church in those who are supposed to be the body of Christ, but others don’t see the reflection of Jesus in them. Once we become who we are through baptism — the body of Christ — the world will be converted. We will convert the world. Then we will begin teaching again, the truth about the body and it will become the instrument.
I was expecting more fire and brimstone against evil and apathy, but Msgr. Esseff gave the message that was on his heart: Respond by truly becoming the body of Christ. Of course. After all, the decision was announced on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when Jesus revealed his wounded heart burning with love for us
There are many articles coming out now listing ways we can defend life as we continue this battle. Msgr. Esseff’s message was a reminder that in all we do, we must proceed as part of the body of Christ.