The priest -- right after collecting salt for an exorcism! -- had an interesting question for a group of teens.
“Can I get some salt please,” a priest kindly asked as he entered the camp kitchen. We were in the midst of preparing lunches for the hundreds of teens who assembled in Mobile, Alabama, for a Catholic camp. The whole week required almost a thousand sandwiches, so we all gladly took the priest’s presence as an opportunity for a break.
“Sure, what for,” a staff member replied as she measured out how much salt to give him.
“An exorcism,” the priest responded cheerily. Our faces collectively dropped. “Of a room,” he added with a smile in hopes to ease our worries. It didn’t.
A few concerned glances were exchanged among the staff as the salt was portioned, but it went without saying that we were terrified. An exorcism?! In the building we’re sleeping in?
I’ve always been a rather fearful person. I stress about everything from whether there’s a bug in my straw to what I’m going to do with my life. But things like paranormal activity — in this case, a Ouija board and demonic graffiti appearing in a room overnight — take the cake. Yet what inspired me most was seeing the priest’s happiness to cast out the demons and continue on with life as normal.
He began his homily later that afternoon by asking, “Guys, have you ever taken a girl to a scary movie?” Hushed giggles scattered the crowd of teenagers as he continued, “Why did you do that?”
The boys in the congregation exchanged smirks as girls gawked to see if anyone dared to speak up. One boy timidly raised his hand while being nudged on by his friends, “So she’d get close to me.”
“So she’d get close to you,” the priest exclaimed. “Then why do you think God allows us to experience fear?”
It was like a lightbulb lit up above my head. I couldn’t believe I’d been so worried that afternoon or any other time in my life for that matter; it was all an opportunity to lean on God — He just wanted me close to Him. He has always protected me before, so why would He stop now?
While I’m still a fearful person — I will always check my straw before taking a sip and make lists to prepare for the future — my outlook on fear has changed. I no longer lose sleep for fear of the enemy but use fear as prayer fuel (checkmate, Satan). God is our protector, and all we have to do is trust in Him like a scared girl at the movies and we will be safe in His arms.
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.