In the area of spiritual warfare, Catholics and Orthodox Christians alike point to the power of Mary. She is, a the exorcist consulted for this article states, “one of the biggest demon crushers out there.” This is not the opinion of just one man in the battle for souls. Every exorcist with whom I have spoken has mentioned the power of Mary – a power that is not only used in exorcisms, but for protection against demonic activity as well. Their testimony is also supported by every text I have read on demonic activity.
Fr. Gabriel Amorth, formerly the chief exorcist in Rome, reports that during a particularly challenging exorcism, the demon-possessed individual suddenly began screaming out. In its pain, the demon, speaking through the individual, agonized over the searing pain and light they were experiencing, “She’s here, she’s here!” the possessed individual was screaming and explained it was Mary and it was her light that the demon could not bear. And this experience is not unique to Fr. Amorth. Virtually all Catholic exorcists confirm that demons respond to Mary. She prays for those who experience demonic oppression and possession (two different things) and the demons hate it.
What is it about Mary that causes such reaction? While many Protestant Christians object to the Church’s frequent petitions and appeal to Mary, she remains not only the subject of hyperdulia, a special type of veneration, but a source of great protection. The reason is related to the special role she plays in salvation history. Mary is the first disciple. This fact alone makes her worthy of mention and invocation. But not only is she the first disciple, she is the example par excellence, that is to say the most perfect model for all disciples. Unlike us, who often have a wavering faith that has led us into willful acts of sin, Mary never wavered in her faith. She never once gave into sin. And this makes her a very powerful ally. For while we may waver in our battle, she does not, she stands firm and nothing deters her. In addition, she has been made Queen of Heaven, and Queen of the Angels. Thus, when she confronts demons she does not do so alone, but with the full authority of every power in heaven and with an army of angels to back her every move. And lest we be confused about angels, Scripture never portrays them as benevolent creatures who bring about warm feelings that can be cutely displayed on greeting cards. In fact, the opposite is true. They are fierce warriors and messengers of God Almighty. Hence when a person encounters an angel in Scripture, the response usually one of fear, not joy. Given that Mary is the Queen of the Angels, it is no wonder that she (rightfully) evokes fear in demons.
But an army of angels is the least concern that Mary brings to the attack against the ancient foe. For, more important than her role as Queen of the Angels is her role as the theotokos, the God-bearer. She is the one who carries the very Word of God into the world. Her role as theotokos, God-bearer is not limited to a one time event, for she never ceases to be the God-bearer. Thus, wherever she goes, God is with her. That is to say, as the Mother of God, Mary is never without her Son.
Mary’s role as mother is not limited to having given birth to Jesus – a fact to which Jesus Himself testified. In the 19th chapter of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus acknowledges Mary as not only His mother, but the Mother of His Church. He does by looking at his beloved disciple and saying, “Behold, your mother” (John 19:27). Mary is not solely the mother of a human being, but of the entire person of Jesus. This makes her the Mother of His mystical body, the Church. This, in turn means that Mary’s responsibilities of motherhood are not limited to Jesus’ earthly person, but to the Church as well. Among these responsibilities is that of protection. While fathers are traditionally tasked with protecting their families, the protective role of a mother should not be overlooked. Indeed, with nearly every animal species on earth, the mother is extremely protective of her children. Mary, as the perfect mother, would naturally be very protective of her children as well. Thus, Christians should not be afraid to call upon her in her capacity as mother, for protection.
Additionally, it is widely known among exorcists that women are more frequently subject to demonic oppression and possession than men. While the reason for this is not fully known, what is clear is that, in light of this reality, Mary’s role in protection and deliverance is extremely important. She is after all, the example par excellence of femininity. She is the model of what it means to be truly woman and mother. Therefore her prayers take on an even greater gravitas when it comes to protecting women. As a young girl, she gave her fiat, her “yes” to God. In doing so she undid the sin committed by Eve. Whereas Eve was fooled by the serpent into disobeying God, Mary’s response is “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Thus, it is important that Christians evoke Mary in spiritual combat. It is incumbent upon everyone incorporated into the body of Christ to develop a strong relationship with Mary as mother. It is important that she be invoked for protection, and guidance. This can be done by praying the rosary – a prayer based largely upon the Gospels. It can be done by spending time with her in prayer, seeking her guidance and asking for her protection. As our mother, she wants us to be safeguarded. As the theotokos she has the power to bring the Word of God to any situation we face. We need only ask for her assistance.