Friday, March 06, 2009

A Legion of Demons

I met with a spiritual director yesterday and talked with her about the ways that my old beliefs and negative thoughts torment me. For days I have been thinking about the story in Mark 5: 8 -16 where Jesus heals the “demoniac”. Isn’t that a great word?

Jesus speaks directly to the “demons” in the possessed man. “What is your name?” Jesus asks and the answer comes, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”

Now that is a case for Jesus as Psychotherapist I think. The legion of demons tormenting this man has to be old beliefs, schema, voices. The story says that the man is tied in chains and I understand that feeling when these old beliefs are hell bent on convincing me of my defectiveness and my deprivation.

But what is startling on re-reading this story is that Jesus does not talk to the man but he talks to the “demons” directly. The demons and Jesus have a conversation about what to do; where they can go, how to make this work. Jesus bypasses the man and goes right to Legion. What does that suggest in terms of steps 6 and 7? In terms of healing? In terms of being restored to sanity? And most powerfully, in terms of respecting the old parts of ourselves that once existed to help us but that now tie us up in chains?

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