Friday, June 7, 2013


According to the New Advent website, “Exorcism is (1) the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice; (2) the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject.”

Like a lot of people, I am fascinated, yet horrified, at the thought of exorcisms.  It is something that is highly contested as being real and has been the subject of countless books, articles and movies.  It is intriguing to many of us to think of the fight of good and evil so apparent in a human.  That is also the horror.  Being possessed is frightening to those of us who believe it can happen.  An exorcism is quite an ordeal to go through both for the victim and the priest performing the rite. 

Sometimes I think of MS and other diseases as possession. These diseases occupy our bodies without our permission and refuse to let us be free from them.  Being possessed by something that you do not want is frightening.  It is a constant battle of will between us and our disease(s). 

I guess in some ways our doctors could take on the role of the priest in the exorcism rites.  The doctor watches our symptoms and tries to figure out exactly what is wrong with us.  He offers treatments in the hope of easing our problems.  If that does not work, he runs tests and tries again to find something to make our lives easier.  But, unlike the priest, he is not able to completely erase the cause of our problems.

As in an exorcism, there are books to guide in the quest to conquer the evil at hand.  Each step is written out for the one who is trying to help the victim to follow.  If progress is not made at first, the “helper” may start over and try to retrace his steps to see if something was missed or misread. As some priests find out during an exorcism, no matter how closely they follow the rites or how strong their belief in the process, the possession is not easily removed.  Some of us have experienced doctors who eventually just quit trying and ease us into the back of the line of their patients.

I have been wondering if there could not be a different type of specialized doctor for MS or other diseases.  This doctor would not only have the training for these diseases, but would also be a person who was interested enough in his patients to be willing to explore different options apart from the norm.  This doctor would try to heal the body and the mind.  As most of us know from experience, when the body is constantly fighting us, our mind gets tired of the process, too.  As our body deteriorates sometimes the mind goes right along with it.  Keeping both strong is often impossible.  Keeping one strong is hard enough.

The special doctor would never tell us: “It is not a symptom of”, “this should have worked”, “there is nothing left to offer you”, “you need to go see a (blank) doctor”, etc.  This doctor would stick with us through thick and thin and always try his best to help us, not pawn us off on someone else because we don’t fit into his scheme of things.  I know what you are thinking, this doctor does not exist.  You are right.  As far as I know, he doesn’t.

But there are some really good people who are trying to make a difference in this world by stepping out of the box.  If one thing does not work, they try something different.  It may not be what they have learned in medical school to do, but it is something that they feel might help the situation.  I really feel, deep in my heart, that there will be a different breed of doctor in the near future because people are beginning to demand it. 

Until then, I will continue my search for a doctor who performs exorcisms.  If you find him first, please give him my name!


1 comment:

Muffie said...

Janie, did you know that in the Catholic church, there's usually only one exorcist per diocese, and his name is kept secret? The book and the movie were based on an actual case (my sister read the file,) but they had to change a lot of details to ensure privacy. It's such a scary concept.
MS doctors do exist -- I just don't have one near me. There's one in Phila. at Jefferson. I just wish any of them would be able to see this disease as we experience it!