Well, the five of us who gathered in the hangout at the Newman Center to discuss the supernatural and paranormal certainly had interesting views and stories to share. Basically, we were looking to share our beliefs about the existence of ghosts, angels & demons, and aliens.
I jumped right in with a story from my childhood about an encounter I believe I had with a demon. I was in the fourth or fifth grade and I had just moved into my grandparent's house, along with my mother and brother. My brother and I had a room to share, but we did not yet have bunk beds, so we slept on covers laid out on the floor. Well, one night, I had lain down on my stomach and was about to fall asleep when I heard someone say my name in the most evil sounding voice I had ever heard. I had been taught by my mother not to answer demons or ghosts, so I said nothing, nor did I turn around. I didn't want to give this demon any impression that I was inviting him into my space. As I lay there, I felt the presence of the demon come and float over me. Every hair stood on end, but I knew not to turn around. Soon enough, the presence left me. As soon as it did, I woke up my brother, who had slept through it all. I asked him if he had heard anything, and he said no. When he ignored me, I ran downstairs to my mother and began to cry.
This event in my life taught me to believe in the actual reality of beings without bodies, including beings who are evil. If I were to doubt what happened then, I would have to doubt the most ordinary of events.
I found it interesting that several of the students had stories to share that were similar. One young man told us about his encounter with a woman who was possessed, and a young lady told stories about friends who had said that their house is haunted. The most impressive story was told by a young lady who said that she had a friend who was visiting New York City. This young lady got lost, and ended up going down a dead end alley way. Just when she realized her mistake, she saw a strange man come walking toward her. She quickly said the prayer to St. Michael, and sure enough, the man stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, and ran away. That Sunday, the young lady was at mass and noticed the man who had followed her sitting in a pew not too far away. After mass, she approached him and asked him what had made him turn around. He said that he had seen a figure holding a sword and enveloped in flames standing before her. He was converted then and there.
We all agreed that we shouldn't use the ideas of ghosts, demons, angels, and aliens to explain things we don't understand. This doesn't really help us to come to appreciate the reality of non-human, incorporeal beings. That means, then, that we have to use our "Catholic filters" when we read books or watch shows that present non-Christian, non-authoritative theories on these subjects. That includes stories like Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol or J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series.
My conclusion was, I may not understand what or how my guardian angel exists, but I trust that he or she does, and I ask for his or her help every day, along with Ss. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.
In other news...Advent has begun! Along with Margaret Oliphant's novel Miss Marjoribanks, I've decided to use Andrew Carl Wisdom's book Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Saint Thomas Aquinas : Daily Scripture and Prayers Together with Saint Thomas Aquinas's Own Words as my Advent spiritual reading (other than scripture, itself, of course). You can buy the book on Barnes and Noble's website at: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/results.asp?WRD=Andrew+Carl+Wisdom&box=Andrew%20Carl%20Wisdom&pos=-1
*If you have any true stories of encounters that you have had with ghosts, angels, or demons, share them on this blog.
Br. Paul, OP