A while back we chatted with Father Daniel Reelhil, a one-time Wall Street banker-turned-priest (after a trip in 1998 to Medjugorje).
Father Reelhil, who hails from the Nashville diocese, is now an exorcist, and it seems like a natural fit, seeing the spiritual warfare he encountered while discerning and preparing for the priesthood, two incidents in particular.
The first was as he walked from Our Lady of Victory Church
“There was this beautiful man staring at me,” he says. “I thought, this is weird. So I turned to walk towards my office and he runs up and grabs my arm.
“In New York, no guys do that. And he said, ‘Let’s get a drink,’ and I had chills go up and down my body. I said, ‘Get away from me,’ and I turned in the other direction and went toward my apartment because it was closer.
“I got to my apartment and I walked through the doors and closed the door and I looked back at him and he was just laughing at me.
“He leaves, and I run back to the church and I said [to an older priest who was counseling him], ‘Father, let me tell you what just happened. What do you think this is?’ and he said, ‘I told you, you’re going to have a target on your back so be careful.’ It was frightening, to be honest.”
Now head south to Florida.
“And few years later, I was down in Miami visiting an old banker friend and she set up a luncheon at this place called that really isn’t appropriate for seminarians or priests. It’s the glitterati, the high-end wealthy people, it’s bottle service on the beach, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t know how I feel about this.’
There were two women with him and they “started looking at this guy across the other end of the deck.
“And they were saying, ‘Oh my goodness, that guy, he’s so handsome!’ And then they said, ‘Oh, he’s coming over here.’
“And I turned and looked and it’s him. It was the guy I’d seen outside the church in New York. And he walks up and looks at me and says, ‘What are you doing here? I thought you were going to become a priest.’ And he says, ‘This is my territory. You shouldn’t be here.’
A lesson there: “This is my territory.”
“Both girls were flipped out,” says Father Reelhil. “They were visibly shaken.”
But adds the priest, whose spiritual warfare training included a long stint in Omaha with the Intercessors of the Lamb, “The supernatural can’t really harm us — physically maybe, but not our souls. The real problem is the sin. 99 percent of the enemy’s tactic is to get us to sin.”
That first brush with an actual entity “did frighten me quite a bit,” he says — but now seem undaunted, even in cases where he has seen levitation, “faces turn into animals,” and other bizarre manifestation during sessions. However, he says, “be aware that there’s a spiritual element of warfare. They attack in one way mocking you and in another to derail or intimidate you.”
While the number of exorcists is now on a steep upward curse, a huge problem is that while priestly training is steeped in theology and philosophy, when it comes to dealing with the devil (a huge part of Christ’s ministry) “they don’t really teach it in seminary,” says Reelhil. “If they do it’s an elective if they do.”
And when they don’t they are leaving new priests — as well as the flock — open to deception and other forms of attack.
[resources: spiritual warfare books]