Roman Catholic exorcists have reported that the devils cannot abide the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholicism has an extremely high regard for the Virgin Mary, but these exorcists actually have a good reason to suggest she might be one of the most effective tools against demons.
“In my experience — so far I have performed 2,300 rites of exorcism — I can say that the invocation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary often provokes significant reactions in the person being exorcized,” Italian priest Sante Babolin told the Mexican weekly Desde la Fe.
Babolin added that “while I was insistently invoking the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the devil answered me: ‘I can’t stand That One (Mary) any more and neither can I stand you anymore.” The priest also cited the book of Genesis, where God prophesies to the serpent that “she will crush your head.”
Famed exorcist Gabriele Amorth, who passed away in 2016, wrote that the devil told him, “I am more afraid when you say the Madonna’s name, because I am more humilitated by being beaten by a simple creature, than by Him,” Jesus Christ, Aleteia reported.
Preaching in January, Pope Francis echoed these declarations. “Where the Madonna is at home the devil does not enter; where there is the Mother, disturbance does not prevail, fear does not win.”
During the Rite of Exorcism, the priest will pray, “The glorious Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, commands you; she who by her humility and from the first moment of her Immaculate Conception crushed your proud head.”
This invocation refers to Genesis 3:15, where God prophesies, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” According to Catholic tradition, the verse can also be translated “she shall strike your head,” and has been applied to the Virgin Mary.
Roman Catholics believe in the “Immaculate Conception,” the doctrine that Mary was conceived without sin so that she could be the perfect mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God according to the Bible. Non-Catholics reject this doctrine, and it is one of the main reasons many reject the Roman Catholic Church.
Even if the Virgin Mary was not immaculately conceived, her humility is astounding. According to Luke 1, when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would become pregnant with “the Son of the Most High,” she asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” When Gabriel explained she would become pregnant before getting married, she meekly accepted the charge, saying, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; bet it be to me according to your world” (Luke 1:38).
Later, Mary delivered the “Magnificat,” a prayer to glorify God. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-48).
Even though Mary had just been told she would be the mother of God (the Eastern Orthodox give her the name “Theotokos,” or God-bearer), she glorified God, surrendering to His will and calling her estate “humble,” even though “all generations will call me blessed.”
While Roman Catholic doctrine makes an important distinction between the respect given to Mary and the worship given to God, many non-Catholics think Roman Catholics worship Mary. Whether or not some Catholics do worship Mary, she deserves respect and admiration, and it stands to reason that her humility — like that of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2) — would be extremely noxious to the proud devils.
“She makes me angry because she is the humblest of all creatures, and because I am the proudest; because she is the purest of all creatures, and I am not; because, of all creatures, she is the most obedient to God, and I am a rebel!” the devil reportedly told Father Amorth.
If C.S. Lewis is correct in Mere Christianity that pride is the root of all sin, a turning away from God and turning inward toward the self, and that the very definition of hell is a voluntary state of pitiful separation from the God who is the source of all goodness, then it stands to reason that the humility of the Virgin Mary would be a powerful tool against the devil, whether in exorcism or in daily temptation.