The very name causes many of us an instant jolt of panic. Personified evil is an incomprehensible thing, and what we cannot understand, we fear.
These spiritual entities are, according to Christian tradition, angels that were cast out of heaven after following their leader, Satan, in rebellion against God. Because of their transgressions, they now roam the earth as they await the final judgment.
But what if you really have nothing to be afraid of? What if you could easily protect yourself from demonic attack?
The truth is this: you can. And Father José Antonio Fortea, a world-renowned Roman Catholic exorcist and author of "Summa Daemoniaca," is here to show you how you can protect yourself from these invisible entities.
For some, the advice Fr. Fortea gives will feel familiar. There is no magic bullet here, no mystical incantation that will safeguard you for all time. Protecting yourself against demonic attack takes work, perseverance, and a life devoted to Christ.
Are you ready for that?
If you are, protection is at your fingertips. We’ve spoken with Fr. Fortea about the most effective things you can do to protect yourself from demonic attack, and have distilled his advice and writings down into 7 key ways to fend off the devil.
Let's take a look at what Fr. Fortea has to say.
Live a Moral Life
Unsurprisingly, the foundation of fending off the Devil begins with making moral choices.
What do we mean by moral? We mean scriptural morality that lies in loving God, loving one another, and working hard to cultivate the Fruits of the Spirit, which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is what creates a moral life.
According to Fr. Fortea, your denomination doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be Roman Catholic. What truly matters is that you make a good-faith attempt to act in ways which are objectively, scripturally good.
This creates what Fr. Fortea calls “a good spiritual life.” He goes on, saying that “The more we’re centered on God, and the more we have a spiritual life, putting into words and deeds the words of the Gospel, the stronger we’ll be.”
If you are willingly open to evil through evil choices, you are more easily attacked and influenced by demonic spirits, which want nothing more than to separate as much of human kind as they can from the light and love of God. Protect yourself from demonic attack by consistently making moral choices.
As Fr. Fortea says, "We should always remember that in the exercise of our free will we are the authors of our own destiny. The demons can only influence us to the extent that we let them."
Living a moral life is the first step to protecting yourself from demonic attack, but don’t stop there. If you want to safe, consider getting involved in your local church.
Fr. Fortea doesn’t recommend this step so that the Church can get your money or out of a sense of tradition. No—he recommends regularly attending church because it helps you to spiritually grow over time, and gives you the support you need to maintain those good choices we spoke of in the previous step.
The Christian Church, as a collective whole, teaches, instructs, inspires, and corrects. Without it, you risk straying from a spiritual life based upon the Word of God to a spiritual life instructed by the self.
Therein lies vulnerability to demonic attack.
If you want a stronger spiritual life, get involved in the church of your choice. What you’ll find there will keep you all the safer.
Fr. Fortea says that “When tempted, prayer is our greatest weapon, a weapon as powerful as the greatest army or wealth. The demons know the power of prayer and fear it.”
Prayer, as a direct connection between you and God, is one of the most effective and easily accessed defenses against the Devil’s power. Fr. Fortea tells us that it doesn’t matter whether prayer is spoken aloud or merely mental—it’s still just as powerful.
It’s a good idea to cultivate a habit of daily prayer, but you can employ this spiritual tool whenever you feel an unusual temptation to make an immoral choice. Ask God to protect you, and to use His power or send His angels to banish any evil that may have attached itself to you.
If a spiritual life is your shield, prayer is most decidedly your sword. Don’t be afraid to wield it.
If you need a great example of how to pray, simply look to the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13—it breaks down the art of prayer into easily-remembered parts. While you shouldn’t repeat the Lord’s Prayer verbatim, use it as a guide in your own prayers against the demonic
In this, you’ll find protection.
Use Holy Objects
Fr. Fortea says that “A crucifix, even if it has not been blessed, is particularly powerful. It torments the demons because it reminds them of their defeat by Jesus’ death on the Cross.” He says the same of religious images and relics.
The thing about these holy and sacred objects is that you must not make an idol of them. A cross holds power because it reminds a demon of the true power behind it—God. By itself, it’s just two pieces of wood attached to one another.
You can place these upon the walls of your home to not only discourage the presence of demonic spirits, but to also remind yourself to keep growing in your spirituality and relationship with God. It can be easy to attend church on Sundays and forget about God for the rest of the week, but if you place a few items around your home that remind you of the sacred, you’ll be inspired to spiritual greatness every day.
Holy objects can help you fend of demonic attack, but only if you remember the real power behind them.
If there is anything that is the polar opposite of the Devil, it is humility. Even exorcists, in their bid to rid people of demonic spirits, must watch for signs of pride within themselves—a lack of humility can open you up to demonic attack like nothing else.
Satan’s chief sin, it seems, was pride. He thought himself greater than God, more worthy to rule. And so it is something he is intimately familiar with, and is uniquely capable of working through.
According to Fr. Fortea, pride can corrupt any gifts we receive from God, turning them toward evil or causing them to be lost altogether.
So what does humility look like? Humility, as C.S. Lewis once said, “is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” You don’t have to denigrate yourself to be humble. You just have to think outwardly, paying attention to others rather than letting concerns of the self govern your actions.
Humility forms the links of your chainmail, keeping you safe. Don’t neglect this elusive quality if you want to be safe from demonic activity.
Invoke the Authority of Christ
Jesus Christ was the first exorcist, and He later gave all Christians the power and authority to repel demons. Because of that, His power flows down through the generations, and can be invoked at any time by you.
Fr. Fortea says that “Jesus Christ has won the victory over sin, evil, and death through His passion, death, and resurrection,” and so by His name, we can reject the Devil and His angels.
What’s more, Fr. Fortea says that Christ desires your freedom. He doesn’t want you to be oppressed, possessed, or in any way influenced by demonic spirits.
If you feel that a demonic spirit is causing you temptation or harm, and prayer doesn’t seem to quite do the trick, command the spirit to leave in the name of Christ.
You may need to do this a few times, but no spiritual creature can resist this name in the end. In the end, even demons know who’s boss.
Seek an Exorcist
Finally, if none of these forms of protection avail you, you may have an especially powerful demon on your hands. For this, you’ll need an expert—someone who has spent a lifetime familiarizing themselves with the world of the demonic, as well as the Word of God.
You need an exorcist.
Keep in mind, though, that exorcists don’t do exorcisms on request. A qualified priest will first ask that you undergo a health and psychological exam to rule out any naturalistic causes. The last thing they want is to keep you from seeing effective treatment if you have a mental or physical health issue.
If the exorcist does determine that you are in need of an exorcism, the process can sometimes take several sessions—exorcism is not an “I win” button against the demon. It is a battle.
During the ritual, a priest will order the demon to leave you, begging God to intervene. The demon is not “asked” to do anything, according to Fr. Fortea, nor is the exorcist the source of the demon’s exit. It is all God.
Once an exorcism is complete and you’re free of demonic possession or oppression—the two ways a demon interacts with people—you’re healed. But know this: to prevent a recurrence, any experienced exorcist will ask that you live by the rest of the recommendations on this list, that you make them engrained habits in your everyday life.
That is the way to freedom from the Devil.
Don’t be a Hostage to the Devil
Fr. Fortea, in his book, “Interview With an Exorcist,” writes that “For a Christian, fear of the Devil is completely unjustified, for faith in God casts out all fear.”
It is fortunate, then, that faith is not something that is out of your reach. Cultivate it by living a moral life, engaging with a church, praying, seeking holy objects, being humble, and invoking the authority of Christ, and you’ll be safe from any demonic attack.
You may stumble along the way, but above all, God knows that you are human. He’ll protect you. And if worse comes to worst, there will always be exorcists like Fr. Fortea waiting in the wings to save you.