Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Early Visionary St. Perpetua

St.s Perpetua and Felicity are commemorated in Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon) itself. But who were they, and what is their dramatic story?
Thursday is the feast of St.s Perpetua and Felicity.
Many have heard their names. They're early saints mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer #1 (the Roman Canon).
But often we don't know much more than that, which is a pity.
They have a dramatic story, which St. Perpetua recorded herself in the days before her martyrdom. It also records the visions she received during this time.
Here are 10 things you need to know.

1. Who was St. Perpetua?

She was a young Christian woman and martyr, who died just after the year 200 in North Africa. When she was still a catechumen, she and several acquaintances were taken into custody.

According to the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity:
And among them also was Vivia Perpetua, respectably born, liberally educated, a married matron, having a father and mother and two brothers, one of whom, like herself, was a catechumen, and a son an infant at the breast. She herself was about twenty-two years of age.

No mention is made of her husband, who may have already been dead.

After being baptized, Perpetua received several visions and was eventually martyred. We also learn about her companions and other members of her family, including her father and her younger brother, who had died previously of cancer.

2. What is the "Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity"?

It is a document describing what happened to Perpetua and her companions. It is also called "The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicity."

The document is composed of a preface followed by six chapters.
What is particularly special is that about half of the document was written by the martyr herself:
  • Chapters 1-3 were penned by St. Perpetua while she was awaiting execution. 
  • Chapter 4 was written by one of her companions and fellow-martyrs, Saturus.
  • Chapter 5-6 (and the preface) were written by the anonymous editor, who was apparently an eyewitness of the martyrdoms.

3. What does Perpetua's writing reveal about her father?

Perpetua's father was a most remarkable and persistent man.
Apparently, he was the only member of her family who did not share the Christian faith. He made repeated attempts to get her to renounce the faith, and he suffered greatly at the thought his daughter would be killed by the authorities. Perpetua was deeply moved to see how much he was suffering because of his love for her.

He comes to her repeatedly throughout the text, trying to find a way to save her life. He doesn't realize what it would mean for her to abandon the faith, but you can't help feeling for his persistence, inventiveness, and raw desperation in trying to find a way to save his daughter's life.

On one occasion, this happened:
And then my father came to me from the city, worn out with anxiety. He came up to me, that he might cast me down [from my profession of faith], saying,
'Have pity my daughter, on my grey hairs. Have pity on your father, if I am worthy to be called a father by you. If with these hands I have brought you up to this flower of your age, if I have preferred you to all your brothers, do not deliver me up to the scorn of men. Have regard to your brothers, have regard to your mother and your aunt, have regard to your son, who will not be able to live after you. . . .'

These things said my father in his affection, kissing my hands, and throwing himself at my feet; and with tears he called me not Daughter, but Lady.

And I grieved over the grey hairs of my father, that he alone of all my family would not rejoice over my passion.
And I comforted him, saying, 'On that scaffold whatever God wills shall happen. For know that we are not placed in our own power, but in that of God.' And he departed from me in sorrow.

 On another occasion, he tried to get her to renounce the faith using an appeal to her infant son:

Another day, while we were at dinner, we were suddenly taken away to be heard [by the judicial authorities], and we arrived at the town-hall.

At once the rumor spread through the neighborhood of the public place, and an immense number of people were gathered together. We mount the platform. The rest were interrogated, and confessed [the Christian faith].

Then they came to me, and my father immediately appeared with my boy, and withdrew me from the step, and said in a supplicating tone, 'Have pity on your babe.'

The pagan authorities even beat Perpetua's father with rods in front of her to try to get her to abandon the faith, but she wouldn't.
Ultimately, though, her father's efforts fail. She stays true to what she told him at the beginning of his efforts:

'Father,' said I, 'do you see, let us say, this vessel lying here to be a little pitcher, or something else?'
And he said, 'I see it to be so.'
And I replied to him, 'Can it be called by any other name than what it is?'
And he said, 'No.'
'Neither can I call myself anything else than what I am, a Christian.'


4. What visions does Perpetua receive?

Several visions are narrated in the text:
  • The first is a vision of a ladder, and it concerns Perpetua's martyrdom and arrival in heaven.
  • She also has a pair of visions concerning her deceased brother, Dinocrates, who is trying to drink from a fountain.
  • In another vision, she fights the devil in the form of an Egyptian gladiator.

5. What happens in the vision of the ladder?

One vision concerns the fact that she will be martyred:
Then my brother said to me, 'My dear sister, you are already in a position of great dignity, and are such that you may ask for a vision, and that it may be made known to you whether this is to result in a passion [a martyrdom] or an escape.'

She then receives the following vision:
I saw a golden ladder of marvellous height, reaching up even to heaven, and very narrow, so that persons could only ascend it one by one; and on the sides of the ladder was fixed every kind of iron weapon. There were there swords, lances, hooks, daggers; so that if any one went up carelessly, or not looking upwards, he would be torn to pieces and his flesh would cleave to the iron weapons. And under the ladder itself was crouching a dragon of wonderful size, who lay in wait for those who ascended, and frightened them from the ascent.

And [my companion] Saturus went up first, who had subsequently delivered himself up freely on our account, not having been present at the time that we were taken prisoners. And he attained the top of the ladder, and turned towards me, and said to me, 'Perpetua, I am waiting for you; but be careful that the dragon does not bite you.'

And I said, 'In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me.' And from under the ladder itself, as if in fear of me, he slowly lifted up his head; and as I trod upon the first step, I trod upon his head.

And I went up, and I saw an immense extent of garden, and in the midst of the garden a white-haired man sitting in the dress of a shepherd, of a large stature, milking sheep; and standing around were many thousand white-robed ones.
And he raised his head, and looked upon me, and said to me, 'You are welcome, daughter.'

And he called me, and from the cheese as he was milking he gave me as it were a little cake, and I received it with folded hands; and I ate it, and all who stood around said 'Amen.'
And at the sound of their voices I was awakened, still tasting a sweetness which I cannot describe. And I immediately related this to my brother, and we understood that it was to be a passion, and we ceased henceforth to have any hope in this world.

6. What happens in the visions of her little brother?

Perpetua relates the first as follows:
I saw Dinocrates going out from a gloomy place, where also there were several others, and he was parched and very thirsty, with a filthy countenance and pallid colour, and the wound on his face which he had when he died.

This Dinocrates had been my brother after the flesh, seven years of age who died miserably with disease—his face being so eaten out with cancer, that his death caused repugnance to all men.
For him I had made my prayer, and between him and me there was a large interval, so that neither of us could approach to the other.

And moreover, in the same place whereDinocrates was, there was a pool full of water, having its brink higher than was the stature of the boy; and Dinocrates raised himself up as if to drink. And I was grieved that, although that pool held water, still, on account of the height to its brink, he could not drink. And I was aroused, and knew that my brother was in suffering.
Perpetua then begins to pray daily for him to ease his suffering, and she eventually receives the following vision:

I saw that that place which I had formerly observed to be in gloom was now bright; and Dinocrates, with a clean body well clad, was finding refreshment. 

And where there had been a wound, I saw a scar; and that pool which I had before seen, I saw now with its margin lowered even to the boy's navel. 

And one drew water from the pool incessantly, and upon its brink was a goblet filled with water; and Dinocrates drew near and began to drink from it, and the goblet did not fail.
And when he was satisfied, he went away from the water to play joyously, after the manner of children, and I awoke.
Then I understood that he was translated from the place of punishment.

This pair of visions testify to the belief in the early Christian community of the value of praying for the departed and to what we would now refer to as purgatory.

7. Who was Felicity?

Perpetua is often mentioned together with one of her companions--Felicity--as is the case in Eucharistic Prayer I.

Felicity was another woman who was arrested at a time when she was eight months pregnant.

She was eager to go to heaven, however, and did not want to be delayed by being martyred after her friends.

The fact that she was pregnant, however, might have interfered with this, since it was not lawful to put a pregnant woman to death.
She and her companions therefore prayed and, though she was not yet full term, she delivered her baby--a girl--who was given to a "sister" (a fellow Christian woman) to raise as her own daughter.
Felicity thus was able to be martyred with her friends.

8. How did Perpetua and Felicity die?

Perpetua and her companions were martyred by being subjected to wild beasts.

The men were subjected to a leopard, a bear, and a boar.
Perpetua and Felicity were subjected to a fierce cow (or ox).
The account of their martyrdom includes interesting details, such as the fact that when Perpetua's garment was torn, she drew it over herself to protect her modesty and, when her hair was disheveled, she did it up again, lest she be thought to be mourning in the moment of her glory.

It is also reported that she and her companions experienced the pains of martyrdom in a kind of ecstasy, as if someone else were suffering them.

As they died, they exhorted others to find salvation in the Lord.
At the end, they were dispatched by a gladiator, with Perpetua guiding the gladiator's sword to her own throat.

The anonymous editor comments:
Possibly such a woman could not have been slain unless she herself had willed it, because she was feared by the impure spirit [the devil].

9. Are Perpetua's visions approved private revelations?

The Church did not have the modern system of approving private revelations in place in her day, nor has it gone back over Church history and applied it to ones in early Church history.
Perpetua is a saint, however, and her visions do not contain anything contrary to the faith. They seem (to me) entirely wholesome, and I see no reason to doubt that they were prompted by motions of God's grace.

10. Where can we read the full story of Perpetua and her companions?

They can be read here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Power of the Eucharist


Msgr. Charles Pope reflected on an experience he had 15 years ago while celebrating the traditional Latin Mass at St. Mary, Mother of God, in Washington DC:
As you may know, the ancient Latin Mass is celebrated “ad orientem” (toward the Liturgical East). Priest and people all face in one direction. What this means practically for the celebrant is that the people are behind him. It was time for the consecration. At this time, the priest is directed to bow low with his forearms on the altar table and the host between his fingers.
As directed, the venerable words of Consecration were said in a low but distinct voice, Hoc est enim Corpus meum (For this is my Body). The bells rang as I genuflected.

But behind me there was a disturbance of some sort; a shaking or rustling sound came from the front pews behind me to my right. And then a moaning or grumbling. “What was that?” I wondered. It did not really sound human, more like the grumbling of a large animal such as a boar or a bear, along with a plaintive moan that also did not seem human. I elevated the host and again wondered, “What was that?” Then silence. As the celebrant in the ancient Latin Mass I could not easily turn to look. But still I thought, “What was that?

It was time for the consecration of the chalice. 

Again I bowed low, pronouncing clearly and distinctly but in a low voice, Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti; mysterium fidei; qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem pecatorum. Haec quotiescumque feceritis in mei memoriam facietis (for this is the cup of my Blood, of the new and eternal covenant; the mystery of faith; which will for the many be shed unto the remission of sins. Whensoever you do this, you do it in my memory.)

Then, I heard another sound, this time an undeniable moan and then a shriek as someone cried out, “Leave me alone, Jesus! Why do you torture me?” Suddenly there was a scuffling noise and someone ran out with the groaning sound of having been injured. The back doors swung open and then closed.

Then silence...

Realization – I could not turn to look for I was raising the Chalice high over my head. But I knew in an instant that some poor demon-tormented soul had encountered Christ in the Eucharist and could not endure His real presence displayed for all to see. And the words of Scripture occurred to me: Even Demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).

Repentance – But just as James used those words to rebuke the weak faith of his flock, I too had to repent. Why was a demon-troubled man more aware of the true presence and more astonished by it than I was? He was moved in a negative sense and ran. Why was I not more moved in a positive but comparable way? What of the other believers in the pews? I don’t doubt that all of us believed intellectually in the true presence. But there is something very different and far more wonderful in being moved to the depth of your soul! It is so easy for us to be sleepy in the presence of the Divine, to be forgetful of the miraculous and awesome Presence available to us.
This is startling at first glance, but upon further reflection, makes perfect sense. The fallen angels absolutely know the true nature of the Eucharist. They have a metaphysical understanding that surpasses merely human knowledge.
Acting like the Eucharist is what we profess it to be — through reverent liturgy, exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, adoration, Corpus Christi processions, and the like — makes a huge difference in our own belief and understanding of this sacred mystery.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dr. Rosaria Butterfield Fromer Lesbian Current Christian

Amazing testimony from ex-lesbian, academic professor,  Dr. Rosaria Butterfield. She was virulently anti-Christian and rabidly ensconced in the feminist pro-homosexual lifestyle.  

Her life changed when she met a Christian pastor that did NOT treat her like the enemy of Christ, but the lost daughter of our Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST.  

It was through years of love, out reach and committed fellowship by the Christian pastor and his wife that Dr. Rosaria Butterfield was willingly to even entertain the BIBLE was the inspired word of Almighty GOD. Once she began to read the Word of GOD it was not long before the Son of GOD began to open her eyes and ears to the truth of the BIBLE. 
Her testimony is both powerful and thought provoking.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Devil Himself

Luhra Tivis Worked with Dr. George Tiller, the infamous late-term abortionist who was assassinated a few years ago. She says of her time working there:
“It became apparent to me, after about eight weeks, that something was horribly wrong. I was frightened by what I saw. These late abortions were not, as Dr. Tiller had told me, being done for compelling medical reasons. Viable babies were being destroyed simply on demand. Week after week, I saw in the medical records the clear evidence of a violence beyond anything I could’ve imagined.

Like a spider trapping insects, Dr. Tiller lured the mothers into his clinic each week. I was instructed to falsify the ages of the babies in the medical records. I was required to lie to the mothers over the phone, as they scheduled their appointments, and tell them that they were “not that far along.” That I had to note, in the records, that Dr. Tiller’s needle had successfully pierced the walls of the baby’s heart, injecting the poison that brought death. It was a horror that pierced my own heart."

Each week, as the mothers came in and I checked them off for their appointment, I tried to maintain my composure. I hid my impulse to turn them away, to plead for the lives of their children. It was particularly sinister that this great evil was being conducted and, what, to all appearances, was an ordinary medical clinic.”
The devil can take on many forms and can deceive people in many ways.  The dark stain on humanity is that there are people who are happy and willing to assist the devil  in his most wicked endeavors.

No one who had any shred of  GOD'S Holy and Divine light in him could ever conceive of injecting a tiny babies beating heart with poison. Only the devil himself could conceive of such a horror and only those who will spend an eternity burning in hellfire would ever WILLINGLY do such an act. What could Doctor Tiller ever have received in compensation  for such a heinous act?  Money which buys things which rust and rot, was that sufficient for the sale of Doctor Tiller's eternal  soul?  

I wonder would any one here on earth trade places with Doctor Tiller right now?  If there was a power that could allow an pro-abortion, pro-choice supporter to trade places with Doctor Tiller in the afterlife do you really think they would take it?  

Does any sane person think that Doctor Tiller is in a place of eternal peace right now? 


Judgement always begins in the House of the Lord...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Attorney, Jeffery Thompson, Dies on Operating Table and Sees Heaven!!

See Jeffery Thompson in a live interview, tell of his experience of what happened when he died on the operating table and went to heaven and back!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Woman Healed of Cerebral Palsy by JESUS CHRIST

At an age when other children were enjoying life's priceless moments, Marlene Klepees had to face its cruelest tortures. Weighing less than two pounds at birth, she developed cerebral palsy, a disease that left her crippled. She suffered her entire life, even at times begging for death. 

One day she had ENOUGH! She simply could not go another day, blind, crippled, going from one seizure to the next. She told GOD in her head that she could not go on another day. 

The Lord JESUS CHRIST responded by giving Marlene a vision. In this vision she was told to call a certain Christian church and ask for the preacher to come and pray for her. 

The rest you will simply have to watch the video to find out...

Angels saved Boy Survived from Ski Jet Accident - Josiah Lamb

A 12 year old boy might had died from ski jet accident had God not sent his angels to intervene.

 Angels are real! We live in the spiritual world. 

I pray that everyone sees this video to know that JESUS CHRIST is the Divine Son of Almighty GOD! 
Our Father and Creator is King of Heaven and earth. 

Ask Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, NOW! Time is running out...

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life...John 3:16 NKJ

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Trial of Pastor Scott Lively

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

­ John 15:20

Christians, pastors, take heed. In case you haven’t noticed, times are a-changin’. Whether at home or abroad, if you follow God’s command to speak biblical truth in all things, most especially, it seems, on matters of sex and sexuality, you will be persecuted.

“A servant is not greater than his master.”

I don’t presume to compare Pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries to Jesus Christ. None of us can compare, even remotely, to the one and only God-man ­ to the Lord of the universe and exclusive path to eternal salvation. That said, Pastor Lively is one of the most “Christ-like” people I’ve had the honor to know.

As did Christ, Scott Lively speaks absolute truth, in absolute love, with absolutely no fear of personal destruction or even death. He loves everyone, whether friend or foe, Christian or pagan, straight or “gay.”

For example, Scott and his family took into their home and nursed, both physically and spiritually, the late Sonny Weaver, a former homosexual who died, as so many have, from AIDS ­ a natural consequence of unnatural behavior. Sonny became homosexual after being raped at 7 years old by a “gay” man in a local YMCA. He became a former homosexual after accepting Jesus as Lord of his life.

Lively loves those who seek to defend him just as he loves those who seek to destroy him ­ and, make no mistake about it, precisely because Pastor Scott Lively has chosen to both obey and emulate Jesus Christ, there are people, very powerful people, who seek to destroy him. These people, unless and until they come to know, accept and surrender to the Lord Jesus, are, and will remain, enemies of God.

And so Scott Lively prays for them.

Remember those pastors in Houston who were told to turn over their sermons to radical lesbian-activist mayor Annise Parker? Remember the national outrage over this blatantly unconstitutional act of governmental abuse?

Pastor Lively, you see, has, in the spirit of Saul Alinsky, been “Hitlerized” by a left-wing extremist group ironically calling itself the “Center for Constitutional Rights” (CCR). CCR is a George Soros-funded organization with, I kid you not, the beastly street address of 666 Broadway, New York, NY.

Because Lively exercised his God-given First Amendment rights, as well as his free-speech rights afforded by the laws of Uganda, and spoke biblical truth about homosexual sin after having been invited there by a number of Ugandan pro-family groups, homosexual activists set-out to make an example of him.

In March of 2012 CCR sued Lively in a Massachusetts federal court for “crimes against humanity” ­ the same charge filed against Nazis who stood trial in Nuremberg ­ on behalf of another moonbat organization called “Sexual Minorities Uganda,” which, and again, you can’t make this stuff up, prefers the moniker “SMUG.”

And so Lively enlisted the pro-bono legal services of Liberty Counsel, one of America’s fastest-growing civil rights organizations.

Lively explains: “With full knowledge that these are bald-faced lies, SMUG asserts that

 1) I masterminded the 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda, which they call the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’ [in fact, Lively publicly opposed the bill, which has since been struck down by Ugandan courts].

2) Inflamed passions against homosexuals in Uganda by characterizing all homosexuals as irredeemable genocidal child molesters.

3) Introduced to Uganda the heretofore unknown strategy of criminalizing public promotion of homosexuality as a means of opposing the rise of a homosexual movement in Uganda. The proof that these are lies is found in the very same documents they misuse against me.”

CCR and SMUG also tried to blame Lively for the murder of Ugandan homosexual David Kato, a murder he also publicly condemned, making it the centerpiece of their lawsuit until, and as was noted in Liberty Counsel’s Motion to Dismiss, it was revealed that, as Lively predicted...  

Kato was actually murdered by his “gay” lover who confessed to the crime, was convicted and is now in prison.

But all of this is incidental. It’s a smokescreen. Keep in mind; we’re talking about protected speech here. Lively is being tried for “crimes against humanity” for merely uttering, publicly, millennia-old biblical orthodoxy relative to sexual morality.

So, how could such an Orwellian lawsuit ­ clearly designed as a weapon to both harass and intimidate Lively and anyone else who might dare challenge the global homosexual activist political agenda ­ even make its way into a U. S. federal court?

Well, CCR and SMUG’s angle was to circumvent that pesky ol’ First Amendment, as well as Ugandan free-speech laws, through a gross misapplication of the Alien Tort Statute. Normally, this would have been laughed out of court and, in fact, just last year, even as this case was ongoing, the U.S. Supreme Court unequivocally ruled this very tactic to be unlawful.

There’s nothing normal about this case.

Meet federal Judge Michael Ponsor. Ponsor, who thumbed his nose at the Supreme Court and denied Liberty Counsel’s slam dunk Motion to Dismiss, is the textbook example of a judicial activist. He has admitted as much, once saying in another context that, “At some point I realized that judges are the unappointed legislators of mankind, and what we do is just as creative.”

But for this judicial activist, the case would seem personal. At his inauguration to the federal bench he crowed, for instance, “We have a proud, vibrant gay and lesbian community.” Presumably he knows this because one of his ex-wives reportedly later “married” another woman, while his daughter once revealed publicly on social media that she, too, was a lesbian.

And so, to keep afloat the demonization of Scott Lively (of all Christians, really) despite the Supreme Court’s torpedo, and to keep alive this judicial abuse, harassment and intimidation ­ Ponsor, as promised, got “creative.”

Now, because the Court denied Mr. Lively’s Motion to Dismiss, we are now forced to go through many months and years of expensive and protracted discovery on two continents. Literally thousands of pages of documents are changing hands, and dozens of depositions will be taken. This makes the subpoenas to Houston pastors look like small potatoes.”

“SMUG’s and CCR’s end game is clear: Make war criminals out of anyone who encourages any legislative body to pass any legislation upholding the traditional family. If Scott Lively is guilty of the Crime Against Humanity of Persecution, then so are the Houston pastors and anyone who has ever tried to influence legislation against the homosexual juggernaut.

The Court process is all about punishment.

This was never about winning or losing.

It was always about intimidation. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MONSTER Energy drinks MAY be the work of those who serve the enemy

The Monster Energy logo looks like three Hebrew vavs, that the value for vav in Hebrew numerology is 6, and that Monster Energy is therefore a Satanic drink (because three 6's = 666). 

The drink's slogan, "Unleash the Beast", is also claimed by some to be Satanic.The evil which rules this world loves the fact that people are blind. Most who read this and watch the video will dismiss it as legend and lore. However, those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will understand that the enemy has a mission and will stop at nothing to ensnare those who are willfully ignorant. 

Rather then dismiss this out of hand, take a moment, delve into what this Christian woman is saying. If she is wrong then prove it, but is she is right then beware because in the last days the devil will go about like a roaring lion seeking to devour all those in his path. 

After all, we are only on this fallen planet for a little while. When, we leave this place, when we die, how we lived our lives will have eternal consequences. 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Colombian Catholic Exorcist Father Ríos Ministry

When he was a boy, Carlos Arturo Ríos was accustomed to awakening at 2 o’clock in the pre-dawn hours to milk the cows of his neighbors in the little Colombian town known as Salento. The locale is known for its unspoiled colonial architecture, lying in the midst of the coffee-growing region in the central western part of the country. Ríos diligently milked between seventy to eighty cows on the farms of the area every day. 
By dawn he could eat a quick breakfast, which might consist of corncakes known as arepas and a cup of coffee sweetened with raw sugar. Once he had eaten, his work day was not yet finished since he would then go on to tend to the glistening coffee trees or harvest their red berries. He might have become a migrant worker, handyman, or finquero: an owner of a small plantation, like so many of his countrymen in the area. But it was not to be so.

It was on a day like any other that Ríos felt a calling, but rather than heading for a seminary he instead decided to study philosophy. He became a teacher, and worked as an educator for ten years. But the call he had felt many years before returned, over and over, and he finally could not resist. Following the siren’s song, he entered a seminary and studied theology and became a Catholic priest. Father Ríos was sent by his bishop to serve as a vicar at a place called La Tebaida, and named to a pastorate at La Virginia, a village in the municipality known as Calarcá, not far from the provincial capital, Armenia.
And it was on October 4, 2012, after having spent six years in the little village ensconced in the midst of Colombia’s coffee-growing region, that the young priest’s life would change – forever.
When Father Ríos began his ministry at Calarcá, only four people regularly attended Mass. Just days before, his predecessor – Fr Mauricio Arias, who had founded the parish – had not bothered to open the doors of the church because of the lack of a congregation. Perhaps the people of Calarcá, who scratched a living by growing coffee, plantains, maize and beans, and cassava, had come to their own arrangements with the Deity and saw no need for a Christian ministry. Or perhaps they were just indifferent to the entreaties and encomiums of a young and inexperienced priest who preached with frankness and religious fervor.
Father Ríos preaches today, as he did then, that God must be taken seriously or rejected completely. “I should not use him only for my whims. The religious life must be lived radically. I don’t disguise things: I call things for what they are,” he says. To the four regular members of his tiny congregation, Ríos gave relentless warnings. The world, he said, was on the edge of a precipice because humanity appears unwilling to commit to anything or anybody. “The world sells us the idea that we merely enjoy ourselves, and that we are going to die and it doesn’t matter how we enjoy life nor who we cause suffering. This new society that is coming about, children and young people, is being raised with the idea that life ends at the grave. And if that is true, what about the word of God? We have erased from our minds the concept of eternal life.”
And then something would happen that would make the people in Calarcá take another look at their nagging priest.
One day, Bishop Fabio Duque Jaramillo, who presided over the diocese of Armenia, assigned Father Ríos to another town. Once he was settled in Quebrada Negra, Rios was approached by the parents of two girls. Their daughters, aged 14 and 16, were acting strange.
When Ríos went to visit the family at their home, he found the two girls bestially scratching the floor of their hut and scraping their faces with their fingernails. The priest told their parents to call an ambulance and have them taken to the psych ward at a local hospital. “They’re nuts,” he said.
He thought that he was done with it.
But as he recounted the sordid events, his terror returned. “One of the girls carried a metal desk big enough two people and tried to throw it at me. That’s when I felt my legs tremble because that force did not come from her.” When he called his bishop about it, he was told to do a follow-up. So he did.
Bishop Duque Jaramillo told him, “I haven’t been able to find an exorcist. So, it’s on you, father, from now on.” In response, Ríos told him, “But it’s been only a year since I was ordained! How can you put me in the middle of this?”

“No, it’s up to you,” affirmed the bishop. “You have the gift, and I need your help since lots of people have died for the lack of a doctor; but this is not a disease. So I’m giving you a commission: you won’t charge a cent.”
That was just the beginning, and Father Ríos’ renown as an exorcist began to circulate through the countryside. One story held that at La Virginia there was a priest who could call out spirits, that he placew his hands on the chest of the possessed and prays in Latin, that he’s young and doesn’t look like he can fight with demons, but people come from all over Colombia to see how fearless he is and how much he sweats during the fights with the demons and calls on them with wrath.
So it was the Carlos Arturo Ríos: former ranch hand, farmer, and teacher, became a tamer of spirits.
It was not long before the congregation of just four stalwart Christians grew to more than 150 who come to assist Mass every day at Divine Child parish in La Virginia. Every Saturday at vespers, Father Ríos offers a Mass of healing for the sick of body and sick of soul. At the age of 45, he calls out spirits every week or even daily. He has become a celebrity, hounded by journalists.
But made him a celebrity occurred on August 28, 2012. At 8:30 in the evening, Father Ríos began the exorcism of Juan Diego – a 24-year old student of nursing from the city of Armenia who has within him the spirit of a suicide. The young man came alone, since his family is not Catholic. The priest’s helpers have tied down Juan Diego’s wrists and ankles. He appears calm, but won’t be for much longer. He is surrounded by eight strong men, trained by the priest.
The mountains of Quindío grow chilly at night when the wind buffets the corrugated metal roofs of the little houses in the village, threatening to carry them off. The temperature drops from the 90s to the mid-60s, and the people of the village have dressed themselves in wool ponchos and jackets. Down in the valley, they can see the twinkling lights of Calarcá and Armenia. There, at the parish house – the only place where there is still light – twenty-eight people have gathered expecting a miracle.
 The priest is not impressive by appearance. He is about 5 and a half feet tall and pale. A few gray hairs on his head signal that he is no longer young. Father Ríos walks quickly and projects an air of someone who is on another plane, raised up with reflection and prayer that makes them seem to levitate.

Once he entered the room, his actions wee decisive and vigorous. He gave orders to his assistants. There was no time to lose. His eyes were wide open and showed both self-control and worry as though he were expecting bad news. The priest looked all around to be assured that everything is under control and then begins to pray, calling upon all the saints he can think of. Juan Diego then collapsed as if transfixed but the eight assistants don’t let him fall. They carried him to the altar of the church down the center aisle. 
Some of the men began to pray silently while holding crucifixes or bibles, while others pray out loud with fervor with lips moving as rapidly, as Juan Diego writhed and bellowed on the floor. The young man shuddered as his body buckled at otherworldly angles as he hissed, scratching the floor and grasping at the men with claw-like fingers. All the while, the voice of Father Ríos droned on and on, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Angelic Salutation.
The orbits of Juan Diego’s eyes turn back and forth wildly as if they would fly from their sockets. Getting to his feet, Juan Diego attacks the priest but is held back by the guardians of the spirit tamer. They bring him to the ground where the possessed bucks and jumps as though he will fly into the air. Everyone in the church prays out loud while Juan Diego’s eyes cast villainous darts at the priest. The possessed then laughs hoarsely, spitting out with contempt, “What are you here for? Just try and cross me! Get your paws off me, bitch. Don’t touch me, damn you!” The priest said later that the possessed Juan Diego was referring to the Virgin Mary.
Outside, the dogs of parish barked and howled relentlessly. The electricity had not returned and at 9 o’clock at night the darkness was all-encompassing. Father Ríos was sweating bullets when the possessed Juan Diego calls out in his demonic voice. “Shut up, all of you! Why are you singing? You’re singing to a God who has forgotten you! I am the spirit created at the beginning and will be until the end!”
In the face of the evil assault, Father Ríos placed a wooden crucifix on the throat of the victim who roared like a beast while writing and shaking back and forth as if someone or something was trying to explode out of his chest and take flight. His body was being broken in two and stretched beyond human limits. At last, the possessed man falls to the cement floor on his knees while drool fell from his open mouth.
The priest applied holy salt on Juan Diego’s head while praying even more intensely. The spirit inhabiting Juan Diego does not obey when the Father Ríos demands, “What is your name? What is your name?” Instead, demon answers “Take me out, bitch! This body is mine and it belongs to me, a slave forever.”
Suddenly, quiet reigns over the little church and village as the sounds of the night become audible again. The dogs cease to bark. Someone nearby is playing a plaintive tune on a flute. After a pause, Padre Ríos recites the Prologue of Saint John and the prayer of exorcism in Latin “to bind the spirit that is within.” He orders, “You will leave this boy in peace,” while pouring holy water on Juan Diego’s febrile head.
Juan Diego’s hands are balled into fists. A physician, a woman who has been present for the exorcism to assist the priest, opened the boy’s fingers and takes his pulse.
“I order you, in the name of Christ, go to sleep! Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” cries the priest. Juan Diego, or the spirit inhabiting him, falls asleep in a pool of sweat.
Awakened, Juan Diego looks embarrassed at the people around him. They unwind the sheets in which they had wrapped him. He will need to undergo the ordeal again.

“I don’t remember anything,” says Juan Diego. “The padre was exorcising me. That’s all I know.” Father Ríos, who has removed his cassock and stole, orders Juan Diego, “Remember that you have been liberated from that spirit. If you get drunk again, even after this, the spirit will return. So, be smart. I’ll be watching.”
Juan Diego go up and walked from the church.
Father Ríos said, “The Ritual of Exorcism says that any person, after the last exorcism, remains vulnerable for seven to nine years. During that time, an exorcized person must go to Confession frequently.” He breathes deeply and gives every sign of mental and physical exhaustion. Defeated, he knows that he was only able to put the demon to sleep, rather than casting it out. “A human being, in order to keep away a spirit, need not be a goody-two-shoes. No, because goody-two-shoes are not saved…not everything is a sin nor is everything permitted,” he says. “Even so, Saint Paul says ‘All things are lawful to me: but all things are not expedient.”
How does a spirit enter a human being? Father Ríos explains “To begin with, I would have to say that I have not possessions by the Devil; and the day that I do I will take off running. I have had cases of possessions by spirits of people who have committed suicide or have died tragically. These spirits usually take over a body, seeking out people who are far from God, who haven’t had the sacraments or use Ouija boards, who don’t go to Mass, or are uncontrollable sexually.”
“These people are weak and allow these spirits, which I call beasts, to enter them. A doctor would never recognize this; normally, doctors don’t believe in this. Some of them, when they come across such a case, call it neurosis while others say that it is impossible that by placing my hands on someone will cause their pupils to dilate. They tell me, ‘What you are doing is totally contrary to what we learn in medical school.” 
There are at least thirty-four cases like Juan Diego. Of these, five of the possessed live in the priest’s rectory. They are indigent and have come from other parts of the country. The priest accepts offerings for the care and feeding of his wards, while the local people bring them clothing. They have lived there for five months and have still not been liberated from the dominion of evil spirits. 
“At first, I was frightened,” avers Father Ríos. “Now I’m not even though some of these cases of possession make the hair of your neck stand up. It’s hard. I’ve been beaten, and other things. I’ve done exorcisms like the one in the movie ‘Emily Rose’, but there are two things I have not seen yet: I’ve never seen anyone turn his head 360 degrees, or die.”
Exorcisms can be performed only by those priests given faculties by a bishop. Anyone who attempts an exorcism and causes the death of someone would be sanctioned by the Church, and go to jail. Father Ríos has been delegated by his bishop to perform exorcisms. But before undertaking the ritual, he requires that anyone requesting one must be examined first by a psychiatrist. “If the doctor finds an illness, then he should give treatment. I don’t get in the way unless I become convinced that the person is possessed. They have to be certified by a doctor. Possessed people can’t stand me. They won’t talk to me, and then they attack or run away. I hold them down with the power of God, even though sometimes they hit me.”
Father Ríos is aware that his church often fills with the curious and thrillseekers. “I tell them, ‘If you’ve come here for the priest, you’re mistaken. I go to the bathroom a lot, which makes me a human being and a sinner. But if you come here for Jesus Christ, it is worth the trouble.”
La Virginia is no longer the same. Since Father Ríos is the only exorcist in the coffee-growing Eje Cafetero region and probably the whole country, plenty of people come to the town seeking help and liberation. There are plenty of evil spirits and beckoning bodies in the parish. At night can be heard the howls of the possessed. Once in a while, one of the possessed escapes from the church during the ritual runs through the streets growling like a beast. They are brought back by strong believers and subjected again to the prayers and rituals of exorcist. 
Not everyone is able to live on such a battlefield where good and evil fight to the death. One woman, Luz Marina Londoño, has stopped attending Mass because seeing so many people possessed by spirits terrifies her. Referring to her mother, Sanda Milena Piedrahita, says “She will only go to funeral Masses: the ones that possessed don’t attend. It’s because she is frightened, since any time she goes to a normal Mass someone falls down next to her. That’s why she won’t go back.”

No one can live so close to possessions and not be affected. Sandra says that her view about spirits is changing. “I talk a lot with Leonardo. He’s from Belalcázar in Risalda. He has a spirit. Sometimes he comes here in the afternoon and I ask him things and we laugh together. Then he goes away and when he returns , when I remind him of something we had talked about, he says that he doesn’t remember anything and that I was probably talking to the spirit of the old man who is inside him. The truth is that that old man speaks normally, just like Leonardo.”
Sandra admits that the presence of the priest has brought not only divine gifts, but worldly things as well. She relates that when the priest celebrates a Mass of healing, crowds come from all over Colombia. The locals make money renting rooms or selling food and trinkets. When Bishop Duque Jaramillo announced that he planned to re-assign Father Ríos, the members of the congregation took up a petition demanding that their beloved priest should remain. Even the supernatural has its terrestrial uses, just as the divine is transmitted through people and material things, such as water, salt, bread and wine.