The 6 Stages of Diabolic Influence

From Slaying Dragons by Charles Fraune

  1. Temptation: “The typical, constant, and recurring form of diabolical influence, to which each and every man will always be subject, involves the various forms of temptation by which the demons seek to erode our faith, hope, and charity and steal us away from a state of grace” (35). This is the ordinary and, in fact, the preferred way of the demons, allowing their influence to remain largely hidden and unnoticed. Demons can access our imagination (eg. bring up sinful past events), attack our perceptions of people and situations (eg. make evil appear good), and infuse thoughts into our minds that cannot be readily distinguished by our own thoughts.
  2. Vexation: “This is when demons are given permission by God to physically abuse a person. Typically, the people permitted to be attacked in this way are the saints (eg. Padre Pio & St. John Vianney), though not exclusively” (36).
  3. Oppression: This is when demons try to ruin a person’s exterior life (eg. financial difficulties, broken relationships, sickness).
  4. Obsession: “Unlike vexation and oppression, obsession is an internal diabolical assault, involving a bombardment of thoughts, (images, voices, visions) into the person’s mind… to the extent that the person, in some cases, loses control over it” (40). “Fr. Ripperger estimates, based on his experience, that about twenty-five percent of the people in this country are diabolically obsessed” (40).
  5. Possession: “This is when a demon takes over either one part (partial) or the entire body (full) of a person” (42). 3 ways this can happen: (1) mortal sin: possession is the proper effect of mortal sin – especially when connected to satanic cults, witchcraft, etc; (2) the result of trauma, like rape or abuse, without proper healing; (3) the will of God – for sanctification or reparation. There are 4 main signs that a person is possessed: (1) aversion to the sacred; (2) occult knowledge; (3) speaking in unknown languages; (4) strength beyond one’s natural capacity. Fr. Ripperger says that only 3 out of 150 cases he examines every year involve possession. But it will become more common as curiosity with and practice of paganism, witchcraft, idolatry, and the occult are becoming more popular.
  6. Subjugation: This is when a person literally makes a pact with the devil or a demon & submits to his lordship. This often starts off as promised but ends in destruction. Example: “John Lennon, for example, is reported to have made a pact with the devil before he and the Beatles became famous. The pact involved a period of twenty years.  Almost twenty years to the day of the pact, John Lennon was shot” (46).
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