Spirit - Digest
Healing The Family Tree: Priest Points To 'Generational' Spirits As Root Of Illness
By Michael H. Brown
Instructional and discussion purposes only
We've long been interested in the testimony of priests concerning what they call "generational healing." That's when spiritual burdens from the past -- from ancestors -- are allegedly lifted. We say "allegedly" because while this practice is growing, is accepted by many priests, and appears to conflict with no strictures of the Church, it still raises questions among some Christians. It is a fascinating concept: that like Scripture says (Exodus 32:7) -- and as we know from Adam and Eve -- sins of the fathers can be passed down through the generations.
Could this really be? Might spiritual matters be passed down like genes -- inherited?
In the past, we've spoken to experts such as Father John Hampsch of California and Father Robert DeGrandis of Washington, D.C. Last week we called another, Father Lou Cerulli of Montreal, who explained that there are just too many cases where recurring problems -- divorce, alcoholism, financial problems, accidents -- run in families. When a person dies, he believes, spirits that caused such problems or spiritual proclivities are passed on to the descendants.
"All of us are affected at least to some degree," says Father Cerulli. "Some people are more affected than others. Some people have no problems until they are 40 or 50. There are always degrees. But if you're going back to all the generations, there is going to be something. Whether we're aware of it or not is another question."
According to Father Cerulli (who travels extensively giving healing Masses), burdens from the past seem to especially manifest through disorders that are psychological or emotional disorders. To dispel them Father Cerulli focuses on the Eucharist, asking those who seek his help to fill out a "genogram (basically, a family tree with the names of ancestors) and reciting prayers designed to alleviate such problems. During Mass the priest tells those seeking his counsel to continue writing down any facts, thoughts, or memories about deceased relatives. He speaks especially about the effects of past occult involvement. After the gifts are brought up, Father Cerulli says he recites another prayer to break generational curses.
"Then they bring up the family trees and they are placed in a basket that I raise up to the Lord for His healing," explains Father Cerulli. "The Eucharist is celebrated and afterward the genograms are sealed in envelopes that are never opened and given to a community of nuns in Montreal who pray over them for three months, later disposing of them by burning them."
All kinds of problems dissolve. There are physical healings. There is deliverance from disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and even suicidal tendencies. Usually it's the relief from a general malaise that has haunted folks for decades.
"Invariably, there will be people who come up and say they had been carrying a burden -- abortion, miscarriages, infant death -- and afterward you can see the release on their faces," claims Father Cerulli. "Such peace and joy! Often, there is reconciliation. We have cases where there's been an estrangement and people haven't heard from family members for maybe 20 years or more, and all of a sudden there's a knock on the door or a letter in the mail or a phone call. I remember an instance where a lady was even unaware that she had a sibling and after a weekend retreat, she came into contact with this sibling. Sometimes this is within days or weeks of a celebration of the Eucharist for the family tree."
Now 62, Father Cerulli was a late vocation who was ordained in 1991 and was inspired to start his ministry by an English psychiatrist named Dr. Kenneth McCall who wrote extraordinary, groundbreaking books on generational healing (at some point in the future, we'll explore the life of this incredible psychiatrist). Father Cerulli usually gives a monthly healing Mass in Montreal, and will soon be pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola in that Canadian city.
What advice does he give to families who feel they are "haunted" -- that there is something negative hovering around their lineage?
If they can't get to a healing Mass, he advises, they should meet as a family and discuss the issue. "One thing I suggest they do is put their thoughts on paper and develop a genogram as a tool, not as a science, but to become as specific as we can in praying for our families," says the priest. "If possible, get together and look at the family tree. Sit down, have a nice meal together, share your stories, bring your photographs, and put it down on paper. Try to be as specific as possible. Put down names if you can. If you don't know the name of your great-great grandfather, then just put down 'GGF.' After you've had your discussion and made your notes, pray. Pray for the healing of your family tree."
Father Cerulli believes there are spiritual aspects particular to various lineages. For example, Italians often confront occult spirits passed down from ancient paganism or from practices such as witchcraft, the Black Hand, or the "evil eye." There is also much occultism in Latin cultures, notes the priest -- who worked in the financial industry and designed training programs for major corporations before responding to the priestly call.
But really, says Father Cerulli, no ethnicity can be singled out. Every culture has its spiritual problems. Unhealthy practices "open up doors to the family line that never should have been opened," and one striking example, he believes, may be the ancient and seemingly intractable Jewish-Arab division. He believes if it may go back to the fact that Abraham had two sons -- one by his lawful wife, Sarah, the other by their Egyptian servant, Hagar.
The son by Sarah was Isaac, and his descendants were to inherit Canaan. The son born of Hagar was named Ishmael and may have been a patron of Arabs.
"His hand will be against everyone, and everyone's hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers," notes Genesis 16.
"These two guys and these two nations have been at each other ever since," notes Father Cerulli.
"Ultimately, we all have problems. We're all connected. We may be different people and different cultures and different languages, but if you go right back we come from God and are all one, are all connected."
Priest Emphasizes the Power of Forgiveness, Not Just Those Alive, But Also Dead
By Michael H. Brown
Forgiveness breaks the connection with the unlove of the past. It is a pathway of healing. It's a lifelong practice. There's always something we have to forgive. It's a moment by moment grace. When we simply allow the Lord to empower our choice to forgive, then the transformation process begins. Then we begin to change."
So says Father Lou Cerulli -- a powerful priest (from Canada) and an expert at what they call family or intergenerational healing. It's a heavy statement, full of meaning we have to digest: Forgiveness. Christ said to do it all the time -- not just seven times, but seven times seventy: meaning constantly. It lifts us out of current crises -- stops the aggravation that so often mires us and our loved ones -- and when applied to past generations, even to the deceased, claims this priest, it can have surprising results. This is especially important in the closing moments of this month during which we pray for those in purgatory.
Forgiving the dead? Do we really need to do such a thing? Why?
There are bonds, claims Father Cerull. There are bonds between us and those in our bloodline. Are we not bonded all the way back to the Garden? As a result, Father Cerulli, a former corporate consultant who was ordained about ten years ago, recommends prayer in which deceased relatives are visualized and forgiven. What really helps, he says, is receiving Communion for them. He believes it's especially important to pray for two groups of people: those we liked the most and those we disliked the most! They are the ones who were either closest to us or who caused the greatest antagonism.
Praying for them can often free us from problems that otherwise seem to have hidden roots, asserts this charismatic priest, who hails from Montreal. "We just bring all of them before the Lord and into the Eucharist," he says. "First we ask the deceased to forgive us. In the Presence of Jesus, we ask them to forgive us for any wrongs we may have committed against them. That may include the failure to pray for family members who needed prayer. Then we forgive them -- we forgive them for their sinful habits, and for the damage they have done."
It is a growing ministry that is both controversial and fascinating. Are we really affected by the deceased? Can what relatives and even distant ancestors have done still take a toll? And if so, how do we know what to pray about?
One basic way of approaching this, says Father Cerulli, is to simply state: "I forgive you for whatever you have done that is affecting me today." The priest recommends that we apologize to God on behalf of our ancestors -- "for the insults they have perpetrated, perhaps through occult activity," he states in his tapes. "Receiving forgiveness from Christ removes guilt. Receiving forgiveness from someone else lubricates the healing-love flow. And giving forgiveness removes resentment."
"Jesus says in 1 Corinthians 11:26, 'whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.' And so in this part of the Eucharist we pray for our family trees. We pray that even as Jesus comes into the bread and wine, so will He come into the family we are praying for."
What matters, says Father Cerulli, is not how we may or may not feel, but that we concentrate on showing the Lord to the dead person and let Jesus bring healing to the living. He believes that the afflictions of the deceased can otherwise haunt the living. "The negative bond between us and them is broken," he asserts. "The Eucharist contains all the means we need to be set free."
This is especially important, he says, for deceased relatives who may never have known the healing love of Jesus. Often the bondages we have are not due to demonic spirits, he believes, but to familial spirits. He cites the case of a lady who had an unusual fear of heights and sensed the presence of a dead grand-father, whom she frequently saw in her dreams. After offering the Eucharist on his account, according to Father Cerulli, the woman found that she no longer had a phobia of falling. Further research revealed that her grandfather had died after falling off a ladder.
"Sometimes what people sense as an evil spirit may be rather a familial spirit," he asserts. "However this may work on a spiritual level, it's like someone who is trying to get our attention and needs our prayer."
Originally published as Cerulli2
It Is Christ Who Bore the Curse And Relives Us Of Our Curse When We Seek Family Healing
By Michael H. Brown
To have a bright future you must let go of the past. Especially, you must release the darkness. Are you clinging to guilt? Did you do things for which you still castigate yourself? Do you think less of yourself despite years of purifying -- unable to "shake a mistake"? (Read Micah 7:14-15, 18-20.)
Are you and your loved ones held down by something that may have been handed down through the generations?
Let's focus on this: healing the family tree, which is the title of a brilliant book by Father John Hampsch of California, and also of a pamphlet by the charismatic healer, Father Robert DeGrandis -- two in a growing group of clerics who are addressing this arcane, often controversial, and always fascinating subject that we revisit from time to time because it is of huge potential importance.
Are there recurring problems in your family? Are there illnesses that seem like more than just genetic issues (spirits can enhance these)? Are there inherited spiritual defects -- anything from prayerlessness to atheism? Or emotional defects -- from shyness to suicidal tendencies?
"It is of critical importance to understand that there are two kinds of evil that could be involved in infecting the family tree, one interfacing with the other very often," says Father Hampsch. "The first kind of evil may be called intrinsic evil, or sin. In the Lord's Prayer, we refer to that with repentance in the prayer 'forgive us our trespasses.' The second kind of evil mentioned in the last part of the Lord's Prayer is extrinsic evil, which includes evil forces -- devils, demons, and evil spirits that may attack us from without, which we deal with in the phrase, 'deliver us from evil' -- that is, from the Evil One.
"Wherever there is any attachment to sin (intrinsic evil) there is usually an attempt of the extrinsic forces, demonic forces, to lodge in those areas. But Jesus, Who says, 'The prince of this world has no power over Me (John 14:30), should be called upon to cleanse the bloodlines of the family tree, both living and dead, of anything of evil that may block the healthy state of the individuals within that family. Through Jesus' Power we can break any inherited curses or hexes that may have been transmitted through the generations, and cast out any evil spirits that may harass the living members of the family." This is most effectively done, maintain both Father Hampsch and Father DeGrandis, through the Eucharist and simple private prayer.
The Holy Spirit will shed light on hidden aspects of your family.
Perhaps it is your mission to cleanse these matters. What a joy this can be!
We know one family that has been plagued by dissension -- siblings end up battling each other. This has happened with uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters for generations. There have been fires. There have been strange happenings in homes. When one aunt (an atheist) died, she was "seen" in the home of a niece who then began to take on her characteristics (fighting with her sister and dying soon after of cancer).
It's not all spirits. We all get ill. There is biology. There is psychology. But how much is enhanced -- made worse -- by a spiritual weaknesses? How many issues in a family could be resolved with prayer and recognition of the underlying cause?
All sin is an invitation to "intromit" demonic forces -- and pass them down, says Father Hampsch. Christ came to "bear the curse." Do we cleanse our families with His Blood?
"The most common concern of most people who learn of ancestral contamination is physical illness," says Father Hampsch, "with less concern, unfortunately, for spiritual weaknesses they may have inherited or will transmit to their offspring. Hence, to teach the heinousness of sin, God has emphasized its physical effects: 'If you do not obey the Lord ... The Lord will plague you with diseases... and strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation' (Deuteronomy 28:15-21; Leviticus 26:16, 39). In forgiving ancestral iniquities, physical outcropping of such sin is also healed. This seems to be the underlying dynamic of the healing of the family tree program, and accounts for astonishing testimonies."
It is useful but not essential, claims the priest, to outline one's family tree as a "genogram," in particular listing living or deceased persons who may have strongly influenced family members in a hurtful way (see Micah 7:6). "In the family tree healing service, each person should engage in a kind of individualized private prayer, even though it may be done as a group service. It could be a simple prayer like: 'Do not hold against us the sins of our forefathers' [Psalms 79:8). Or, 'Punish me not for my sins... nor for those of my forefathers' [Tobit 3:3]." In prayer, he advises, spiritually (or if you have drawn a family tree, physically) "place" a Crucifix between every generation and pray to break any pipeline of past sin.
Focus especially on anyone who may be linked to abortion, suicide, accidents, crime, jealousy, argumentation, addiction, or hatefulness.
"Ancestral sin can be punished even to the tenth generation, as stated in Deuteronomy 23:2-3," writes Father Hampsch -- who has a background in both deliverance and psychology, and is listed in Who's Who in Religion in America.
God is a God of forgiveness and forgives us best when we forgive ourselves. Otherwise, we are attached to past sins, which means past darkness, and here we can allow the entrance of spirits. Negative entities seek wounds to enter, especially when we have not forgiven ourselves. We should. We need to. "Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, And will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins," says Micah 7:14-15, 18-20.
Accept that forgiveness.
Cast darkness out.
Let not the past repeat.
Look backward and then forward and never backward again.
Recognize the problems. Repent of all failures. Confess. Grant forgiveness to every member of your family. Pray for deliverance over your entire family tree. Convert fully -- forsaking worldliness. Take the Eucharist. Ask the Lord to have angels encamp around you. Persevere in prayer (even when the devil tries to discourage you). Pray out all fallen angels who have been attracted to your lineage. Cast them away. Plead the Blood. Notice how important the lineage of Jesus was -- spelled out by the Bible in such detail -- and how the Lord cleared all past debris. He purified His line as we should purify ours, setting ourselves and loved ones free.
originally published as letgopast
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